107. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation for neighbourhood watch schemes, Garda Síochána text alert schemes and any other community-based alert schemes, in each of the years 2013 to 2015 to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40757/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The position is that for many years my Department has supported community crime prevention by provided funding for the Community Alert programme, which is operated by Muintir na Tíre in partnership with the Garda authorities, and which supports over 1,400 local groups including many Text Alert schemes. There are now in excess of 700 local Text Alert schemes operating and guidelines for establishing and operating a Community Text Alert Service have been published and are available on the Garda Website
www.garda.ie and information and advice on establishing such a scheme is available from local Community Gardaí.
I am pleased to say that I have secured €397,000 for the crime prevention initiatives supported directly by my Department in 2016, including Community Alert, and my Department is in the process of engaging with Community Alert in relation to how these increased resources will be deployed during 2016. This investment represents a doubling of funding in this area, and will complement Garda public awareness measures being implemented as part of the multi-strand approach to tackle burglary under Operation Thor.
I should advise the Deputy that neither my Department nor An Garda Síochána provide direct funding for the setting up of Text Alert Schemes, or for the operation of local Community Alert Groups generally. Instead, funding is provided in relation to the employment and associated costs of the national Community Alert programme, including the employment of regional Development Officers. The long-standing view has been that this is the best use of the resources available to my Department to support effective community crime prevention actions.
In relation to Neighbourhood Watch groups, while certain costs related to their operations are funded from the Garda Vote as approved by local Garda management, there is not a specific financial allocation for this purpose.