An Amber Alert system is to be set-up for missing children following a recommendation from the Garda Inspectorate.

Kathleen O'Toole said that when a child goes missing in high-risk circumstances it is vital that the gardaí can immediately get the assistance of key networks in alerting the community.

She said that much could be done to establish the system without incurring additional cost.

The ISPCC has welcomed the move but added that we also need to ensure that other mechanisms that are operational across Europe are used here, including the introduction of the 116 000 telephone number.

The number has been in place for more than two years in a number of European countries but not in Ireland.

The ISPCC says Ireland falls short of adequate policies, procedures and services that deal with missing children.

The Amber Alert system was first introduced in the US and is named after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted from her Texas home in 1995. It also stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

In the US the alerts are broadcast on radio and television news bulletins as well as on road signs and usually contain a description of the child and of their alleged abductor.