522. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the operation of the community text alert system in County Kildare; the number of alert schemes in operation; if text alert messages are sent out by the local Garda stations in the county or via a centralised Garda station in Dublin; the recent changes to the operation of the text alert schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19592/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Text Alert Scheme, which was developed with the support of Muintir na Tíre, Neighbourhood Watch and the Irish Farmers Association, was introduced in September 2013. The scheme provides an additional and effective method for Gardaí to distribute crime prevention information and advice. There are in the region of 200,000 text messages sent under the scheme each month.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that, as of 7 May 2019, there are 33 registered Text Alert Schemes in operation within the three Garda Districts in Kildare Garda Division which facilitates the communication of crime prevention and public safety information to local communities across Kildare.
I am further advised that the 33 Text Alert Schemes within the Kildare Division disseminate information from local Districts/Stations within the Division to an estimated 5,027 subscribers.
I am informed that there have been no recent changes to the management or operations of the Text Alert Scheme from a Garda perspective since the publication of the National Guidelines in 2014 on behalf of An Garda Síochána.