For many years my Department has provided funding for the Community Alert programme which is operated by Muintir na Tíre in partnership with the Garda authorities and which supports the operation of over 1,300 local groups. Funding is provided in relation to the employment and associated costs of a National Coordinator and Development Officers which I believe is the best use of the resources available to me to support an effective crime prevention scheme. I understand that funding for Community Alert is also received from the HSE. The partnership between An Garda Síochána and Muintir na Tire was underlined by the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations in January this year.
In relation to Neighbourhood Watch groups, while certain costs related to their operations are funded from the Garda Vote, there is not a specific financial allocation. I am currently providing the maximum possible funding to Community Alert that is open to me, having regard to the overall restrictions on my Department's resources and other expenditure needs. Accordingly, the provision of funding for the project proposed by the Deputy would necessarily have to be found within that existing allocation and my Department has not received any request from the Garda authorities or from Muintir na Tire to reallocate resources along those lines. I should also advise the Deputy that local Garda management continue to engage with communities through the Joint Policing Committees and other fora to advise them of the relevant local policing arrangements, with a view to ensuring that the best possible policing service is provided to the public at all times.