Askamore Community Text Alert

Wording of Community Text Alert sign

€5 fee for continuing to receive text alerts is now due.

Please put €5 per phone in envelope with name / number & give to any member of Askamore Community Council by Monday March 16th. List of Council names as below:

Ballynancoran, Donishall, Ballytarsna, Askabeg, Bolinrush:

Aileen Kavanagh, Jim Martin, Willie Murphy, Brian Buttle

Askamore, Kiltilihane, Munny:

Paddy Byrne, Seán Byrne, James Tomkins, Stacy Gilbert

Ballyconran, Brideswell – Little & Big, Castlewhite, Knocknamota:

Joe Kenny, Davy Donohoe, Mick Dee, PJ Nolan

Burrow, Drummond, Motabower, Knockshaunfin, Park, Ballyellis:

Owen Doyle, Larry Butler, Enda Morris

Paula Mulroe

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Askamore Text Alert – in The Irish Times today

Big rise in Community Alert schemes

ALISON HEALY

THERE HAS been a 20 per cent increase in the number of Community Alert schemes set up around the State, following a rise in rural crime.

Muintir na Tíre, which runs Community Alert, said it now had more than 1,400 schemes and had noted a “dramatic increase” in calls from people seeking information about setting up schemes and keeping their homes and farms safe.

The scheme involves people reporting suspicious activities, liaising with local gardaí and looking out for their neighbours.

Its national co-ordinator, Liam Kelly, said 40 new groups were set up last year and 34 others were reactivated.

“We’ve about 12 new groups already this year and a huge amount of calls,” he said.

Garda figures show that burglaries rose 8 per cent nationally last year but the increase was as high as 40 per cent in some areas.

Recent aggravated burglaries of older people’s homes in places such as Pallasgreen in Limerick and Williamstown in Galway caused a great sense of insecurity, particularly among older people, Mr Kelly said.

Last month in Pallasgreen a farmhouse was robbed and its inhabitants, two sisters and a brother, were tied up with cable for almost three hours.

Earlier this month, two elderly brothers were tied up and robbed in their secluded farmhouse in Williamstown.

“An incident locally can create huge fear,” Mr Kelly said. “Garda stations are closing and people are very concerned about that. They want to know that there’s someone they can turn to in the absence of local gardaí.”

The increase in the theft of scrap metal has led the Irish Farmers’ Association to call for the introduction of a “track and trace” scheme, which would compel all scrap metal dealers to record the source of scrap metal received.

The farm group said the scheme should also include mandatory checks by local authorities and An Garda Síochána.

Its rural affairs chairman, Harold Kingston, said it was regularly getting reports of valuable machinery disappearing from farmyards and fields as part of work carried out by a sophisticated network of criminals.

Muintir na Tíre is now campaigning to get Garda approval for a national roll-out of a text-alert scheme, after successful pilot schemes in places such as Kerry, Tipperary and Wexford.

One such scheme is running in Askamore, Co Wexford. The community has erected signs that read: “Beware, community texting in operation. You’re welcome if you should be here. We text 300 people and gardaí if you shouldn’t.”

People are asked to call the scheme if they see anything suspicious, and the volunteer manning the phone then decides if it merits a group text being sent.

Mr Kelly said there were dozens of text-alert schemes around the country but all were run in different ways, and a national scheme for such operations would be preferable.

Askamore Community Texting

Askamore Community Council and Askamore Community Alert have worked together to set up and run this local initiative to try to cut down break-ins and thefts locally.

Over 270 people have signed up their mobile phones, and once a report of suspicious activity locally is verified, each of those 270 people receive a text alerting them to the activity / car etc. A number of Guards in Bunclody and Gorey stations also receive the texts.

This scheme has proved successful in the Rathnure / White Mountain area, and other areas outside Co. Wexford, and robberies have decreased wherever they are in place.

The newly-erected signs, placed at the entrance to the half-parish area, alert everyone, those welcome and those unwelcome, that they are entering an area where people are alert to what’s going on in the area.

Anyone who would like to join may do so by contacting Mary Kenny on 0861541948 or Mary Donohoe on 0861633341. The cost to join is €5.

The area covered is roughly the half parish of Askamore and the immediate surrounding areas.