Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
388. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide extra funding to An Garda Síochána to increase overtime and reinitiate the public order units that were available during the acute phase of the pandemic during April and May 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29789/20]
As the Deputy is aware, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer of An Garda Síochána and is responsible for the Garda budget including the Garda Overtime Budget. In addition, under Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána which includes the allocation of human resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
There is ongoing engagement with the Garda authorities in terms of the expenditure arising as a consequence of the increased mobilisation of Garda resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including in connection with the recent Government decision to move the country to Level 3 on the Framework for Restrictive Measures.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no change to the capacity of the National Public Order Unit and sufficient personnel are trained in each Region to meet operational demands. Each Region continues to monitor the current situation, reviewing it regularly, to ensure the Regional Public Order capacity is sufficient to meet potential policing demands, in line with current policy. I am further informed that there is currently no standing requirement in any Region to deploy a Public Order unit on a full time basis. Deployment will be on a case-by-case basis following completion of the necessary risk assessment.
As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána recommenced Operation Fanacht from midnight on 6th October 2020 as a nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with the public health measures. In this work, An Garda Síochána continues to adopt the approach of the Four E’s which sees Gardaí engage, educate, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations, a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.
In support of this announcement there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country with the focus of this activity on continuing to encourage people to adhere to national public health measures.