Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has today confirmed that the 116000 Hotline for Missing Children, operated by the ISPCC, which was commenced in December 2012 on a reduced hours pilot basis, is now operating on a full time 24/7 basis. Full time operation of the line started this week
Minister Fitzgerald stated: “I am delighted to be able to announce the commencement of full time operation in Ireland of the 116000 Hotline for Missing Children. This service provides an important support for children missing from home and for their families.
The Minister added: “I wish to commend the commitment and interest shown by the ISPCC in seeking to progress provision of this Hotline.”
Under EU telecoms rules agreed in 2009, the 116000 number is reserved in all EU member states for a missing children hotline. In 2011 Minister Fitzgerald established a Project Team to oversee the establishment of the Hotline. The Project Team included representatives of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Justice and Equality, ComReg and an Garda Síochána. Last year Minister Fitzgerald confirmed that a licence to operate the 116000 Hotline for Missing Children has been allocated to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Comreg, allocated the 116000 number to the ISPCC following an examination of the issues involved in conjunction with the Project Team. In addition, the ISPCC last year made successful application for funding to the European Commission under the DAPHNE scheme. The ISPCC also received funding from DCYA.
The 116000 Missing Children Hotline in Ireland will be formally launched on 5 June 2013.
Minister Fitzgerald also today announced that as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency she will co-host an EU conference on Missing Children in Brussels in June.
The Minister stated: “This conference will be an important forum for the exchange of practice and experience in the operation of Missing Children Hotlines throughout Europe and Ireland’s progress in establishing the service here marks us as a leader in this area”.