This October is national Community Alert month and over 1,000 Community Alert groups around the country are being encouraged to Participate. Community Alert is a crime prevention and community safety programme run by Muintir na Tíre, in partnership with An Garda Síochána.

Muintir na Tíre President, Jackie Meally, said “Community Alert is one of the most proactive grass-roots programmes in the country. There is a group in nearly every rural parish, helping to keep the residents safe and secure in their homes. The value of this work was very evident during the COVID pandemic.”

CEO Niall Garvey said “October has traditionally been Community Alert Month, but COVID had an impact on this. Some groups remain as vibrant as ever but others face challenges in reengaging post-COVID. This year we are encouraging groups to reconnect with their communities, their Gardaí, and ourselves. For some this might just involve holding a public meeting and assessing the new needs of the communities. For others it might involve launching new initiatives. Details have been sent to all registered groups.”

Examples of activities carried out by Community Alert groups include Text Alert, Seniors Alert Scheme (socially monitored alarms), Bottle in the Fridge, Personal Information Pack, and property recording. The Muintir mobile app, Cairde, goes from strength to strength, having proven its worth in community communication during COVID.

In the last few months, Muintir has held three pilot events in its new Community Comeback programme. These very successful events saw over 40 organisations and 500 individuals participating in three rural communities. This is an initiative from Muintir na Tíre to encourage community groups to reactivate and re-engage after the COVID pandemic. It recognises that community groups are the lifeblood of rural Ireland and are the best vehicle for ensuring community viability in areas which may not have many other supports. It also recognises that community groups need support  in re-establishing themselves after the pandemic, as do the vulnerable residents in those communities. Finally it recognises that many organisations can provide supports but do not have the direct access to vulnerable persons that Community Alert Groups can provide.

In conclusion Niall Garvey said the only ask is that groups use October as a first step on a renewed journey.