146. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will address the specific concerns outlined in correspondence (details supplied) regarding Operation Thor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42204/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can advised that Deputy that the funding available to my Department in 2016 to support Crime Prevention Initiatives, including Community Alert, is €397,000. This represents a doubling of funding compared to 2015.
The precise allocation for the Community Alert programme in 2016 has yet to be finalised and I understand that proposals for next years programme activities are due to be submitted to my Department by Muintir na Tire very shortly.
I can also 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. These Development Officers provide support to Community and Text Alert schemes and offer advice on how to establish new schemes. The long-standing view has been that this is the best use of the resources available to the Department to support effective community crime prevention actions, and I do not intend to depart from this approach in 2016.
As I have previously advised the Deputy my Department does not employ staff in relation to the Community Alert programme. Accordingly, the staffing and employment issues referred to are matters for Muintir na Tire and my Department does not have a role in this regard.