The committee attended a meeting at Blanchardstown Garda station chaired by Inspector Twomey. The Inspector is in charge of the Community Gardaí in Blanchardstown. The meeting was attended by other representatives from resident associations and neighbourhood watch groups from the Castleknock and Carpenterstown areas.
Inspector Twomey stated that residents associations and neighbourhood watch groups often request that a Garda attend their meetings and that this was not an efficient use of the Garda’s time. He proposed quarterly group meetings to share crime related issues amongst the various groups. We suggested that groups email their issues to the Gardaí a week before the meeting so that the Inspector would have answers at the meeting, rather than report them at the meeting and not get answers until the next meeting 3 months later.
A number of the groups have established a Text Alert system in association with the Gardaí. The groups own, maintain and fund their Text Alert system and the Gardaí may send alerts through it to the group members. Some of the processes at the Garda end are still in development. The Inspector estimated that about 5 texts are sent out each month.
The Garda website has a document explaining the Text Alert system, though it is more automated now.
The committee is considering establishing our own Text Alert setup. It would be an opt-in system where we would ask for 5 euro for each mobile number that would be added to the Text Alert list. We would expect that this would cover text alerts for at least a year (and maybe even 2). We will discuss this in future committee meetings and at an AGM.