Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has instructed his officials to examine how to improve the promotion of a renewed Senior Alerts personal alarm scheme.

The announcement comes in the wake of reports by RTÉ News that recent budget allocations for the scheme have been underspent by as much as one-third.

Mr Ring said that he was confirming that it is intended to launch a renewed scheme later this year and that a procurement process is being conducted on behalf of his department.

The means-tested scheme provides personal monitored alarms for older and vulnerable people.

Earlier this week, in the wake of the sentencing of two young men in Mayo and Wicklow for vicious attacks, community network Muintir na Tíre criticised the persistent underspending of monies allocated to the scheme.

It called for unspent funds to be ploughed into promoting the scheme.

Figures released earlier this year to Tipperary-based independent TD Mattie McGrath showed that in 2016, of the €2.6m allocated, only marginally more than two-thirds, €1.8 million, was drawn down.

The figures for other years are:

2015 - Allocated €2.35m; Spent €1.54m

2014 - Allocated €2.35m; Spent €1.7m

2013 - Allocated €2.35m; Spent €2.31m

2012 - Allocated €2.35m; Spent €2.52m