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Question

325. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice if she will report on the work of her Department to support an organisation (details supplied) in expanding the community text alert scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27650/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Justice provides funding to Muintir na Tíre to cover costs incurred by communities in administering the Text Alert Scheme. The scheme is administered on a refund basis, whereby communities submit their annual costs to Muintir na Tíre and a maximum refund of up to €350 is provided to the community.
For the last two years, my Department has committed to funding of up to €150,000 toward the costs of the scheme and, based on the number of applications received, it has had an average cost of €120,000 per annum.
In January this year, Minister McEntee approved an increase in the individual cap of €350 paid to communities to €450 for the 2020 Scheme only. Furthermore, on Monday 17 May, Minister of State Browne approved the total budget of the Text Alert Scheme to increase from €150,000 to a maximum of €200,000 for the 2020 Scheme only.
Previously, the rebate scheme ran from September to the following August. The scheme is now moving to a calendar year basis, running from January to December. In order to make this adjustment, for this payment cycle, the scheme will cover costs from September 2019 to December 2020.
To reflect this, Muintir na Tíre sought an increase of the maximum rebate per scheme from €350 to €450 to reflect the additional 4 months from September to December and this request has been granted.
I am informed that Muintir na Tíre are reviewing the operation of the Scheme with An Garda Síochána to consider more cost effective options – such as using apps – for future versions of the Scheme.