Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
91. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to address the difficulties which have arisen in Dublin due to the overtime budget of the gardaí having been already spent and the anxiety this is causing in the communities. [51730/17]
As the Deputy will be aware, the allocation and management of the overtime budget is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner having due regard to the available resources and his operational needs.
In this context, I would inform the House that I presented a supplementary estimate to the Select Committee last Thursday which provides for additional expenditure of some €58.1 million in gross terms for the Garda Vote, including an additional €50.489 million for the pay subhead of which over €42 million was for overtime.
This will bring the overtime budget for 2017 to over €130 million. By any standards, this is a significant sum, particularly when compared to the spend in previous years - €91 million in 2016, €56 million in 2015 and some €37.7 million in 2014.
Further, Budget 2018 provides for just under €100 million in overtime next year.
Indeed, some €1.65 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2018. This is an increase of approximately 2% over the allocation for 2017 and includes, as I have stated, almost €100 million for Garda overtime. Some €1.61 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2017 and €1.55 billion in 2016.
I am sure that the Deputy will agree that it is incumbent on Garda management to manage these substantial sums effectively for each financial year and I am satisfied that Garda management is acutely aware of the need to utilise the resources being made available to them in the most efficient and effective manner to ensure high visibility policing in our communities. This entails proper budgetary planning to ensure that the overtime requirements for any given year can be met in a managed and coherent way from the available resources.
I am informed by the Commissioner that all Assistant Commissioners and Executive Directors were requested to ensure that the usage of overtime for the roster ending on 3 December did not exceed the annual budget of €131 million which includes a Supplementary Estimate of €42.5 million.
I am further informed that there was no question of all overtime in the Dublin Metropolitan Region being cancelled for the remainder of 2017.
It is important to note that overtime worked in December actually falls due to be paid from the 2018 budget and, as I have indicated, just under €100 million has been made available for overtime in 2018.
I have also been assured by the Commissioner that any misunderstanding that arose internally in relation to the availability of necessary overtime in the period leading up to Christmas has been clarified by the relevant Assistant Commissioner.
It is also important to note that overtime cannot be taken in isolation to the other resources available to An Garda Síochána.
For example, a further 800 Gardai will have been recruited by the end of this year and Budget 2018 also provides for this level of continuing recruitment. Provision has also been made for significant civilian recruitment which will allow for the redeployment of Gardaí from behind desks to the front-line to do what they have been trained and are being paid to do.