31. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to concerns from community text alert groups about a new centralised system for telephone calls to Garda stations in the eastern region; the actions that will be taken to protect the community text alert service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11894/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Text Alert Scheme, which was developed with the support of Muintir na Tíre, Neighbourhood Watch and the Irish Farmers Association, was introduced in September 2013. The scheme provides an additional and effective method for Gardaí to distribute crime prevention information and advice. I understand that there are in the region of 200,000 text messages sent to Text Alert groups registered under the scheme each month and the Garda authorities indicate that Text Alert continues to be a highly effective crime prevention initiative.
In addition to the Text Alert scheme, I should also mention that, for many years, my Department has supported community crime prevention by providing funding for the Community Alert Programme, which is operated by Muintir na Tíre in partnership with the Garda authorities.
With respect to the specific issue raised by the Deputy concerning a new centralised system for phone calls to Garda stations in the eastern region, I have brought his concerns to the attention of the Garda authorities and have sought a report on the matter. I will contact him again when the report is to hand.