Cllr Enda McGloin welcomed Mr Pat Walsh, CEO Komeer to give a presentation on Komeer alerts system. The system is a two-way communications platform designed to deliver fast, reliable and cost-efficient messaging. Messages can be delivered across a variety of platforms and the system can be used by a number of groups and organisations.
The presentation appears in Appendix as Minute Item 4.
Cllr Sean McDermott outlined that text alerts are expensive on community groups and advised that such a system would be of benefit to the community. He advised the initiative being managed by the Council and JPC is very important.
Cllr Justin Warnock enquired what the cost implications are and if there is funding available. He asked if this is an Irish initiative or will there be uptake in Northern Ireland. He also asked how community group can access this service if its implemented.
Ms Janice Raine Conick said she could see how this system could overcome a lot issues currently experienced by text alert schemes. She asked how the growth of the number of users accessing the system is managed and what impact this would have on the cost of implementing the system both for the Council and for community groups.
Cllr Brendan Barry called on Leitrim County Council to wite to the Minister for Justice, Ms Helen McEntee TD to renew the Community Text Alert Rebate scheme for 2020 and 2021. The scheme which has been administered by Muintír na Tire on behalf of eligible Text Alert Groups has proven to be invaluable to community groups as they receive a rebate on their operating costs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, community groups have had considerable difficulties this year in running their normal fund-raising activities and the renewal of the Text Alert Rebate scheme would therefore be of significant benefit.
Cllr Barry queried what the Komeer Service will cost and what is required of the user to access the system.
Mr Pat Walsh Pat responded as follows:
· The Council acting as lead provider for community groups to access the scheme is key.
· The buy in from community groups in Monaghan was achieved by their interaction with the Council. Demonstration of the service could be facilitated for community groups to illustrate the benefits of the Komeer system.
· This is an all-island service. Th PSNI and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland are currently using this system.
· Normally Council’s have a large SMS service cost and the introduction of Komeer has resulted in cost savings.
· Data is fully encrypted and hosted in Ireland.
· In order to provide costings details would be needed on the service requirements i.e., number of groups, users and what the Councils needs are to provide an accurate costing. He advised Monaghan County Council has made a saving of approx. 65% by using the Komeer system.
· Service users will need to download a free app to access the service. Family members can also receive messages via that app that are relevant to vulnerable family members. Users who wish to receive SMS will need to complete a form.
Cllr Paddy Farrell advised this messaging service would be very beneficial to Co. Leitrim.
Ms Mary Quinn advised that Leitrim County Council does not currently offer a messaging service and therefore there is no existing cost or budget. She advised the Joint Policing Committee is a partnership of the Local Authority, Gardai and the community representatives and that it should not be the full responsibility of the Council to fund all initiatives brought before the committee. She added it would be desirable if funding streams could be made available through the Department of Justice to support the JPC in the implementation of such initiatives.
This was supported by Cllr Enda McGloin and was unanimously resolved that:
“Leitrim County Council write to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD to seek a funding stream for initiatives and proposals that are brought before the JPC and which will be beneficial to the wider community, but which have on-going cost implications for the Local Authority. Increasingly initiatives are being put forward for consideration by the JPC that due to their technological nature will have significant cost implication for Leitrim County Council and this JPC considers it appropriate to request funding from the Department of Justice to help meet the costs of such initiative and proposals.”
On the proposal of Cllr Brendan Barry and seconded by Cllr. Enda McGloin it was also unanimously resolved:
"That Leitrim County Council call on the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD to renew the Community Text Alert Rebate scheme for 2020 and 2021. The scheme which has been administered by Muintír na Tire on behalf of eligible Text Alert Groups has proven to invaluable to community groups as they receive a rebate on their operating costs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, community groups have had considerable difficulties this year in running their normal fund-raising activities and the renewal of the Text Alert Rebate scheme would therefore be of significant benefit.”
Chief Superintendent Glacken advised he has responsibility for County Monaghan since September, and he has experienced the efficiency and the success of the Komeer system firsthand.