Funding for the Community Alert Programme has been doubled to €350,000, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced at the National Ploughing Championships.
It incorporates a new €100,000 rebate scheme to cover the cost of some 1.6m text messages for the distribution of crime prevention and community safety advice from the gardaí, as well as some insurance costs.
The new rebate scheme provides a flat-rate €100 payment and this will, on average, amount to about 25% of costs incurred by local groups for distributing text messages.
Ms Fitzgerald said she was pleased to be able to provide funding that will go directly to local groups.
“It is important that we recognise and support the many people across the country that have signed up and paid up as members of text alert groups, which are a wonderful example of people working with their local gardaí to protect and support their community,” she said.
The programme for government includes a commitment to support and prioritise community crime prevention schemes, including text alert.
Ms Fitzgerald said the new funding is a tangible expression of the Government’s commitment to supporting a partnership approach to crime prevention between communities and An Garda Síochána.
She said the gardaí have made huge progress since the launch of Operation Thor last year and have seen a reduction of one third in burglaries nationwide.
“We now have specific legislation to deal with repeat burglary offenders and particularly the organised gangs who have targeted many rural communities.
“The Government remains fully committed to providing An Garda Síochána with the means to continue to face down criminals and protect communities.”
Since the Garda text alert scheme was launched in September 2013 it has developed as an important crime prevention mechanism, with more than 960 local groups involving 164,000 subscribers. An estimated 3m text messages were sent last year under the scheme.
Every Garda division, rural and urban, now offers the text alert service and An Garda Síochána has published guidelines to assist in the establishment and operation of local groups.
Muintir na Tire administers the Community Alert Programme in partnership with An Garda Síochána. There are more than 1,400 community alert groups nationwide.
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