20 September 2017 


· €100,000 available for local communities in 2017 towards the cost of running local Text Alert Schemes 

· €1m also available to establish community-based CCTV schemes over each of the next three years 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced that his Department will be providing additional financial support to Community Text Alert Groups in 2017 as the latest measure in its support of crime prevention in rural communities. The Rebate Scheme, which also ran in 2016, 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 Screggan, Co Offaly, Minister Flanagan said: "I am delighted to announce details of the 2017 Text Alert Rebate Scheme which will be available to almost 1000 local groups registered under the Garda Text Alert Scheme. My Department will be making in the region of €100,000 available to local communities who wish to apply for a rebate towards the costs associated with running their local Text Alert Scheme. We are also assisting in the prevention and detection of local crime through the recently announced grant-aid scheme to assist the establishment of community-based CCTV systems. This scheme will run for 3 years, with up to €1million being made available for each year of the scheme to assist local communities – the application process is open and I urge communities to look into this, and see if it fits with their needs. The provision of CCTV schemes will assist in the prevention and reduction of local crime, disorder and anti-social activity and increase community involvement to prevent and reduce crime in local areas. The use of these technologies will help in the fight against rural crime.” 

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. As a representative of and a native of a strongly rural constituency, I understand and appreciate the impact that Text Alert Groups and community-based CCTV systems can have in local areas. 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. This type of work is beginning to pay off, CSO figures for 2016 show that we had a 30% drop in burglaries. Let no one have any doubt about the commitment of An Garda Siochána and this Government to ensure that we tackle crime in this country. My Department is available to help local groups in both rural and urban areas to apply for this important funding. These schemes allow new technologies to fuse with the traditional value of active community engagement all around Ireland."  

The Minister continued: 

“I am very conscious that the improvements to our road network have sometimes been seen as a boon for mobile criminal gangs. Recognising this, further support is being provided to communities through the unprecedented investment in the Garda fleet in recent years. The Capital Plan 2016 to 2021 provides for investment of €46million in the fleet, this is in addition to the investment of almost €30million in the period 2013 to 2015. In the period 2013 to the end of 2017, almost €44million will have been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream in that period. This investment has allowed Gardaí to carry out special targeted patrols against criminals committing crime inter-regionally, including a focus on the use of motorways by criminal gangs, so as to disrupt and arrest those involved. Garda numbers are also continuing to increase with a new class of Gardaí graduating this week from Templemore.” 

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 2018, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, as the Government continues to support crime-prevention measures in communities. 

The provision of a community-based CCTV scheme was a Programme for Government commitment and also an action point contained in the Action Plan for Rural Development. Applications under the scheme can be made to the Department of Justice and Equality. The application form and explanatory material are available for download on www.justice.ie. Eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon approval of the grant, the applicant will receive an up-front payment of 50% of the grant with the balance to be paid when the system is fully operational. 

Muintir na Tíre will also be launching a new app called ‘Cairde’ in conjunction with An Garda Siochana at the National Ploughing Championships. Cairde enables communities, and individuals within communities, to communicate effectively. It incorporates many practical tools such as the ability to receive Garda Text Alerts, and includes a panic button function which can monitor responses in real time.