Facebook users to receive missing children alerts from gardaí

Feature to be used in when child is believed to be in serious and imminent danger

The move follows an agreement between Facebook and the Garda. Photograph: iStock

The move follows an agreement between Facebook and the Garda. Photograph: iStock

 

Every Facebook user in Ireland will receive an alert to their accounts when children go missing in extreme emergency situations.

The move follows an agreement between the US social media giant and the Garda. The new procedure will become operational immediately and is being formally launched in Dublin on Wednesday morning.

The Facebook alerts will be used for all Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) cases. CRI is a system used when the Garda launches a missing person’s inquiry for children who are missing and believed to be in serious and imminent danger.

A number of CRI cases have involved one parent taking children away in vehicles without the consent and against the wishes of the other parent. In a small number of cases, children who have been the subject of CRI alerts have been murdered by a parent.

In the alerts, very detailed information, including the names of the people being sought and vehicle descriptions and registration numbers, are shared.

Members of the public are urged to contact gardaí immediately if the children, or suspected abductor, are sighted.

The Garda already has an agreement in place with Twitter to share CRI alerts with its users in Ireland. The new partnership with Facebook has been put in place to maximise the number of people who will see the alerts very quickly.

The new arrangement will be launched on Thursday morning at an event attended by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and the Garda’s Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll. Emily Vacher, Facebook’s director of trust and safety will also be present and will address the gathering.