Monday 19 February 2018

Child rescue alert swings into action for the first time – but sadly ends in tragedy

IT WAS the first time a Child Rescue Ireland alert had swung into action – but sadly on this occasion it ended in tragedy.

The Child Rescue Ireland alert, or CRI system, was launched May 25, 2012.

It is a system that enables the gardai to seek the assistance of the public where a child has been abducted, and there is reasonable belief of immediate and serious risk to a child.

In the case of missing children Eoghan (10) and five-year-old Ruairi Chada, 110 electronic signs were used on major routes and motorways around the country to publicise the appeal.

"Garda CRI Alert," it read, before alerting the public to the registration plate of the green Ford Focus that gardai were seeking.

Meanwhile, a detailed description of the missing man and his two children was quickly circulated to media.

CRI Alert is an agreement between the gardai, the media and broadcasters to alert the public to a child abduction in order to seek their help.


Information relating to the alert is broadcast via several media, including radio, television and internet.

The primary goal of the CRI Alert is the safe and early recovery of the child unharmed.

Unfortunately, on this occasion the CRI was stood down when gardai made the grim discovery of the missing children's bodies.

Police forces in the UK, including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, have been operating a similar alert system since 2003.

Strict criteria must be met before the CRI Alert will be issued.

The child must be under 18 and there must be a reasonable belief that the child has been abducted.

There must be reasonable belief that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child.

There must be sufficient information available to enable the public to assist the gardai in locating the child.

If the criteria are met, CRI alert information is assembled and distributed to the public.

The information will include descriptions and pictures of the missing child or children, the suspect and registrations or descriptions of vehicles involved in the abduction, along with any other information available that may be valuable in rescuing the child or identifying the suspect.

The gardai work together with agencies such as the the National Roads Authority, the Health Service Executive, the Railway Procurement Agency, Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus, Emergency Call Answering Service and media, both print and broadcast, nationwide.

- By Fiona Ellis

Irish Independent

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