Muintir na Tíre emergency app will alert family, friends, and even gardaí if user is in difficulty 

Muintir na Tíre emergency app will alert family, friends, and even gardaí if user is in difficulty 

Muintir na Tíre southern region community alert development officer Diarmuid Cronin said the app came about in response to demand from users of its existing text alert system. Picture: Denis Minihane

An app is to be launched by Muintir na Tíre next month which will alert emergency services and family or friends if the user is attacked or suddenly falls ill as well as their exact location.

The app, which is downloaded on the person’s phone, has an emergency button. When pressed, it provides the user’s location and immediately alerts friends or relatives that they are in difficulty.

The Cairde app was created for Muintir na Tíre, the National Association for Community Development, by Declan Collins who worked for 30 years in software development in the Central Bank. He created it after a break-in at his own brother’s house.

“He, his wife and son locked themselves in a bedroom while someone tried to break down their front door,” Mr Collins said.

“Suddenly the would-be intruders left without entering the house.

“Following this very frightening event we realised that inadvertently neighbours had witnessed the intruders and they then fled. We thought ‘what if we could make this happen by design and get people to help each other by simply showing up in time of need?’.

“The Cairde emergency button sends the location of the person in trouble to their cairde [friends] to alert them to their need for help.

"When someone responds to say they can help Cairde shows the person in trouble how far away the help is.”

If there is no response from nominated family or friends within three minutes, an alert is forwarded to a centralised monitoring centre.

Operators there, who work 24/7, will first try and contact the app user. If that is not successful, they will then contact the user’s family/friends to see where they are and if they are on their way to the location.

If that also fails, the monitoring centre operators then contact the gardaí.

Mr Collins said the app, to be launched next month, is a fantastic personal safety feature for many emergency situations.

Diarmuid Cronin, one of Muintir na Tíre’s senior community alert development officers, said the app had been in development for the past five years and came about in part due to requests by some of the 200,000-plus members of the organisation’s community alert text system.

“The app will run side-by-side with the text alert system so it can be accessed by every one of our users if they so want,” Mr Cronin said.

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