Check against delivery 

Commissioner, I have the pleasure of joining you and Ms Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland today for the launch of the free Child Rescue Ireland Alert Smartphone APP. I am also delighted to welcome the initiative on the occasion of Ireland’s inaugural Missing Person’s Day ceremony here at Farmleigh later this morning.

As the Commissioner has outlined, the key to an effective and relevant alert system for missing children is that it is only activated where there is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and welfare of an abducted child, and there is sufficient information for the public to assist in locating that child. This allows for the Alert system to have maximum impact.

We are all grateful that, since launching the CRI Alert system last year, the need to use the system has only arisen twice. I want to join with the Garda Commissioner in expressing my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Chada family. I am sure we are all also grateful for the outcome of the more recent CRI Alert last week. I wish to pay tribute, in particular, to the PSNI for their assistance during that alert which was an excellent example of the ongoing effective co-operation of police forces in both jurisdictions.

It is important to acknowledge and pay tribute to the invaluable work by An Garda Síochána and the contribution of the media and general public during the CRI Alerts this year. A crucial component of an effective alert system is the ability to rapidly communicate a message through television, radio, at airports and ports, and via text and email. It provides An Garda Síochána with access to the speedy means of disseminating key information during the critical period immediately after a child is reported missing. In this regard, I welcome the signing of memoranda of understanding between An Garda Síochána and the key agencies involved in the event of an alert. I know that the use of social media has an integral and significant role in the effective operation of the system.

I would also like to echo the Commissioner’s gratitude for the significant contribution of Vodafone Ireland, Phonovation and all those engaged in the development of this important Smartphone APP. It is a wonderful example of how public and corporate collaboration and innovation can be channelled in a constructive manner to deliver meaningful and relevant benefits to the wider community.

I am sure you will agree that it is fitting that we are all here together this morning announcing the launch of the Child Rescue Ireland Smartphone App on the launch of Ireland’s first Missing Persons Day. While it is our collective earnest hope that incidents will not arise which necessitate the activation of a CRI Alert, it is essential that an appropriate system is in place in our communities to protect children should it be required. The App we are launching this morning is another important component in that system.