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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Alamy Stock Photo A public warning system for Irish citizens is expected to be introduced next year.
Government text messaging system for large-scale emergencies in Ireland expected next year
A public warning system for Irish citizens is expected to be put in place next year.

A TEXT MESSAGING system to warn Irish citizens of large-scale emergencies is expected to be introduced at the end of next year at the latest, a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has confirmed.

The new ‘Public Warning System’ will enable mobile phone operators in Ireland to send warnings to the public via text message on behalf of the government before or during large-scale public emergencies when there’s danger to life.

Similar schemes are being introduced across EU countries. 

A PWS sends messages to citizens who may be close to a possible natural disaster or terror attack, to prevent the spread of misinformation and let them know how to stay safe. The EU system will be similar to the ‘Amber Alerts’ currently in use in the United States.

According to the spokesperson, the Department is “currently working closely with the Department of Defence to progress the Public Warning System project as a matter of urgency”.

An inter-departmental working group has been established and will engage with mobile networks.

“Along with the procurement process, policy and procedures will be developed to ensure appropriate ‘Use Protocols’ are in place. It is anticipated that a national Public Warning System will be in place in approximately 18 months, subject to procurement and Government approval,” the spokesperson told The Journal.

Since 2012 both Apple and Android have used the technology to send out Wireless Emergency Alerts through a ‘Cell Broadcast’, most notably in the US.

Government originally discussed plans in 2010 to introduce a PWS.

Later, the European Union implemented a PWS scheme for its member states in 2018, named ‘Reverse-112‘.

Since renamed ‘EU-Alert’, Ireland would join Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Spain and other EU countries if they are to implement the system next year.

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