915. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice if central funding is available for the continuation of existing text alert schemes; the details of the funding process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42509/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, my Department 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, and recognising the increased use of the alert scheme during the pandemic, Minister McEntee approved an increase in the individual cap paid to communities to €450 for the 2020 scheme only.
A further adjustment to the 2020 funding was made to address the fact that the scheme moved to costs incurred between January and December. Previously the scheme ran from September to September. To accommodate this adjustment, Minister of State Browne approved an increase to the total budget of the Text Alert Scheme for 2020 from €150,000 to a maximum of €200,000 to cover the additional period between September and end December 2019.
My officials have been engaging with Muintir na Tíre in relation to continuing this scheme including reviewing whether newer technologies, including apps, would be appropriate for use. In terms of funding for the 2021 Scheme, a final decision has yet to be made but I can assure the Deputy that I am fully committed to continuing to support this scheme.