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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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ISPCC granted licence to run 116000 missing child hotline

The hotline number was reserved for over four years before ComReg received an application to operate it.

Image: wesleynitsckie via Creative Commons

THE MINISTER FOR Children Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed that a licence has been allocated to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to operate a new hotline for missing children.

The hotline will operate on the 11600 number used in other EU countries.

Announcing the licence decision, Fitzgerald said that the number is reserved across all EU member states for a missing child hotline under EU telecoms rules.

Under the EU Universal Service Directive, member states are required to make every effort to ensure that citizens have access to a service operating a hotline to report cases of missing children. It also specifies that the hotline will be made available on the number 116 000, so that the helpline numbers are coordinated across the EU.

The hotline will report missing juveniles to the relevant authorities such as the gardaí, accept tips about missing children, and provide emotional support to the parents of missing children.

The number had been reserved in Ireland for over four years before the licence was allocated because of a shortage of parties interested in running the hotline.

Minister Fitzgerald said today that a project team comprised of representatives from her department, the Department of Justice, ComReg, and the gardaí was set up late last year to look into how to progress the hotline project.

“During the course of the Project Team’s work, Comreg, who have responsibility for allocation of this number in Ireland, received an application to operate the Hotline from the ISPCC,” she said.

“Following an examination of the issues involved by the project team, ComReg yesterday advised my department that they have allocated the 116000 number to the ISPCC. This is an important step in securing the provision of the Missing Children Hotline in Ireland.”

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