Minister Flanagan announces details of the Text Alert Rebate Scheme 2018
20 September 2018
- €150,000 available for local communities in 2018 towards the cost of running local Text Alert Schemes
- Majority of Text Alert Groups who applied in 2017 received a Rebate of between €200 and €350
- Minister Flanagan encourages more groups to take up the Rebate funding
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced that his Department will again be providing additional financial support to Community Text Alert Groups in 2018, continuing this Government’s support for crime prevention in rural communities. The Rebate Scheme, which also ran in 2016 & 2017, will allow Text Alert Groups registered with An Garda Síochána to apply for funding to contribute towards their yearly running costs.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly, Minister Flanagan said: "I am delighted to announce details of the 2018 Text Alert Rebate Scheme which will be available over 1000 local groups registered under the Garda Text Alert Scheme. My Department will be making in the region of €150,000 available to local communities who wish to apply for a rebate towards the costs associated with running their local Text Alert Scheme. Last year saw payments made under the rebate scheme almost double to €125,000 paid out to almost 450 groups. I hope that this announcement of €150,000 will encourage more groups to apply directly to Muintir na Tire.
Minister Flanagan continued: "The Government's response to crime, and to burglaries in particular, has focussed on two key objectives: investing in the capacity of An Garda Síochána to tackle criminals and enforce the law effectively; and updating and strengthening the law where necessary. I understand and appreciate the impact that Text Alert Groups can have in local areas, especially in rural constituencies. They are a perfect example of citizens working in tandem with their local Gardaí to provide a safer community for all those who live there.
“In addition, Operation Thor, which was introduced to tackle the threat of mobile burglary gangs, continues to deliver results off the back of significant investment in Garda overtime, ICT equipment and high-powered vehicles by this Government. While recent Crime Statistics releases by the CSO indicate a rise in burglary offences year on year, it is important to recognise that, overall, the figures for burglaries nationwide are still down almost 25% from a high in 2015.
“Let no one have any doubt about the commitment of An Garda Síochána and this Government to ensure that we tackle the scourge of Rural Crime head-on, and I look forward to working closely with the new Garda Commissioner and his management team to continue to tackle this and all forms of criminality in our State.”
Other rural crime measures deployed by the Gardaí include initiatives to tackle the theft of metal including electrical cables, the theft of farm equipment and the theft of livestock.
Minister Flanagan concluded: “Gardaí have cooperated with Crimestoppers to make sure that people know there are help lines that they can call and I urge anyone with concerns about crime in rural areas to call the confidential Crimestoppers number 1800 25 00 25.
Note for Editors
The Community Text Alert Groups rebate scheme will once again be operated by Muintir na Tíre and details of how to apply for the Scheme are now available on their website www.muintir.ie.
The funding for Community Text Alert Groups made available this year will be reviewed again in 2019, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, as the Government continues to support crime-prevention measures in communities.
Muintir na Tire will be launching Cairde, its new mobile app, at the Ploughing Championships 2018. Demonstrations will be held (stand 275, block 2, row 13) at 4pm each day.
For Community Alert groups, apps such as Cairde represent the future. Cairde deals with many of the frustrations that groups may have experienced as part of the Community Tet Alert Scheme, which was constrained by technology. For example:
- There is no limit on message size (groups used to pay extra for long messages).
- Messages can include attachments (eg photographs of suspicious vehicles, or pictures of recovered property.
While Text Alert has operated well on constrained technology, cost has limited its use. With Cairde, there is an annual subscription similar to what members already pay, but usage is unlimited thereafter. This will encourage more communication between An Garda Síochána and the public. For example, it will enable the Gardaí not just to issue alerts, but to issue follow-up feedback.
While Cairde justifies itself for Text Alert alone, it can do so much more. For example, it has a panic button feature, which can be used in an emergency to send a panic alert to your Cairde (predefined friends) and the Gardaí. The system monitors and co-ordinates all responses. Both the person and all those responding to the alert will be continually informed about who is coming and how far away they are, until the issue is resolved. This means nobody feels isolated or alone while dealing with emergency situations.
Further details are available at www.cairdeapp.ie