Garda Overtime Budget: Statements

I welcome the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, and have the pleasure of calling on him to speak.

I welcome the opportunity to debate the position relating to Garda overtime. At the outset, the allocation and management of the overtime budget is the responsibility of the acting Garda Commissioner, having due regard to his operational needs. I am satisfied that Garda management is acutely aware of the need to utilise the resources being made available to it in the most efficient and effective manner so as to ensure high-visibility policing in our communities. This entails proper budgetary planning so that the overtime requirements for any given year can be met in a managed and coherent way. Senators will agree that Garda management must continue to deliver on the extensive Garda reform programme that is under way and extract maximum benefit from the opportunities presented by that programme, which is supported by unprecedented levels of public funding.

Senators may be aware that I am due to present a Supplementary Estimate of €44.2 million for the Garda Vote before the select committee tomorrow morning, which is intended to address the requirements of the Vote for 2017. Without getting into too much technical detail, this Supplementary Estimate provides for additional expenditure of €58.1 million in gross terms, offset in part by surplus receipts in the Vote of €13.9 million. This provision includes an additional €50.489 million for the pay subhead, including more than €42 million for overtime. This will bring the overtime budget to more than €130 million for 2017. By any standard, this is a significant sum, particularly when compared with the spend in previous years: €91 million in 2016; €56 million in 2015; and €37.7 million in 2014.

Budget 2018 provides for just under €100 million in overtime next year, so I am at a loss to comprehend the proposition made by some commentators that there is no money to pay for Garda overtime in the run up to Christmas and the end of the year. 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 might add that my officials have been in contact with the Garda Commissioner's office and have been informed that any misunderstanding that has arisen internally regarding 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 from the other resources available to An Garda Síochána. For example, a further 800 gardaí 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. 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 almost €100 million for Garda overtime. Some €1.61 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2017 and €1.55 billion was allocated in 2016. This clearly demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

Senators will be aware that to make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 reserve members and 4,000 civilians. Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 by 2021 will require 2,400 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next three years. Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties across the country. Additionally, another 200 trainee gardaí are scheduled to attest next month, which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to approximately 13,500 by the end of the year, an increase of 500 since the end of 2016. This will clearly provide significant additional policing hours throughout the country, both in terms of the increase in the number of new gardaí and the redeployment of significant numbers of gardaí to front-line policing duties as a consequence of the increased civilianisation of the organisation. Senators will be aware that increasing the number of civilians in An Garda Síochána is a major element of the wider modernisation programme. The proposed increase in the strength of the Garda Reserve will contribute strongly to available policing hours. I expect this unprecedented level of recruitment for An Garda Síochána will, over a period, alleviate the pressure on the overtime budget.

I want to make it clear that this Government has not been found wanting in providing resources to An Garda Síochána. It is incumbent on Garda management to manage effectively and efficiently the significant resources being made available to them. My Department will, of course, be keeping all aspects of the Garda budget under close review in conjunction with Garda management during the course of 2018.

I thank the Minister for coming here this evening. He has great skill in talking about everything but the subject matter. This relates to the statement issued by Mr. Pat Leahy, the assistant Garda commissioner for the Dublin metropolitan area. It is the statement about which we are all concerned. There was a brief reference to it-----

These are statements on the Garda overtime budget.

Yes, but the most pressing issue is the statement-----

One is entitled to say what one wishes to, within limits.

-----issued by Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy relating to no overtime being authorised until the new year. That is what concerns people today. He sent a notification to the chief superintendents in the Dublin area yesterday stating that no overtime is authorised and any operations intended on an overtime basis are cancelled. He stated the Garda budget for 2017 has been exhausted and all operations, events, searches, arrests, etc., for the remainder of 2017 will be performed by working units.

The Minister stated, "I am at a loss to comprehend the proposition made by some commentators that there is no money to pay for Garda overtime in the run up to Christmas", but he should not be at a loss given the statement sent by Assistant Commissioner Leahy to the chief superintendents. It clearly states the Garda budget for 2017 has been exhausted and all operations intended on an overtime basis are cancelled. That would include up to the end of December.

That is not true. I made that clear in my address.

I understand that but it still does not take away from this fact and it is what we must clarify today. Similar statements were sent to Galway and Cork. The Taoiseach told the Dáil this morning there is funding for overtime in December. He was keen to understand yesterday's public announcement a bit better. Does the Minister have any understanding of how this announcement came to be made? It is astonishing that the assistant commissioner would make such a statement and if there was enough money available, it should not be the case that the message would be sent around. It raised alarm bells right across the country and people became deeply concerned. Was the Department aware such a message was being sent to members of the force and was the assistant commissioner aware the Supplementary Estimate is due before the committee tomorrow? If not, why was that the case?

This leads to the level of joined-up thinking that exists between Garda management, which is charged with managing the budget, and the Department, which holds the purse strings. It is outrageous that Garda management would not know how much money it had or what was being made available to fund overtime. There was real fear right across the country when this was reported. I understand there was a misunderstanding as the budget was due to be renewed in December but nevertheless this is the message that was sent around. Either way, December is the busiest month of the year and gardaí need to operate at full force. The message sent the wrong signal to criminals and communities across the country. I would appreciate the Minister providing some answers in this respect.

I welcome the Minister to the House. Like Senator Clifford-Lee, I believe questions are to be asked. I appreciate that the Minister is putting a good gloss on what happened and that it has been a tough week for him. There is no doubt that Assistant Commissioner Leahy's statement went out and the reaction from the public was one of dismay. There was a reaction among many gardaí, who were worried about anticipated earnings in December - whether they are paid in December or January - being seriously diminished.

The Taoiseach said words to the same effect as what I will say about this. It is not rocket science to divide the overtime budget into 12 monthly pieces. It is not rocket science to keep that monthly budget. It should not be the case that one would arrive at the beginning of December in a position where an assistant commissioner would be under the impression - I presume because he was told as much - that the entire Garda overtime budget had been exhausted. I fully appreciate the points made by the Minister and the Taoiseach that overtime expenditure in the Garda Síochána is an integral part of proper policing. I accept the proposition that it is not an indication of a deficient force that there is significant overtime expenditure. When we are examining how the Garda is managed, this kind of mess should not arise.

I know the Supplementary Estimate for public services is to be moved shortly in the Dáil. When did the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform give sanction for that to be done?

Did anybody think it might not be done?

I fully appreciate that the enhanced rate of recruitment to An Garda Síochána over the next three years at the rate of 800 per year is necessary to bring the strength of the force up to 15,000 and provide for anticipated retirements. I also welcome the progress being made in respect of civilianisation because one of my biggest disappointments after I left the office of Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform was the slowdown in civilianisation and the poor progress made in that regard.

The Minister mentioned the Garda Reserve. It was established with some difficulty and in the face of a considerable degree of hostility. I regret to inform the House that a very considerable number of reservists are deeply disillusioned by how they are being treated. They are being neglected, marginalised and left to feel stupid for turning up to assist. That is totally wrong. I led members of the Irish media to Chester in England when the Garda Reserve was being proposed and introduced them to reservists there. I remember in particular a woman who was an intensive care nurse, which is a busy job, as well as a reservist. Her commitment to her voluntary assistance to the police impressed us all, particularly the journalists who travelled with our party. The Garda Representative Association, GRA, must be told in no uncertain terms that there should be no boycotting, neglecting, bullying or marginalising of reservists. They are there to help and are not a threat to anybody's earnings, as the Minister's figures show.

Reservists are the means for the Garda Síochána to have local roots. The Minister will appreciate, perhaps more so than a Dublin Senator such as myself, that it is highly disturbing for those in rural communities to be policed by people who live 70, 80 or 90 miles away, commute to work each day, drive around the locality in squad cars and seem to have no local roots. That is almost inevitable in the modern world because the idea of gardaí living above the station is more or less dead, with the exception of Riverstown in Sligo and a few other places. However, if gardaí are to exercise their functions 60, 70 or 80 miles from home, there needs to be a counter-balance in terms of local roots for An Garda Síochána and the best thing to do in that regard would be to increase the size of the Reserve. It is not solely a matter for rural Ireland, as there are places in Dublin that need reservists. There are communities in Dublin in which it would be a great benefit to the community and to the image of An Garda Síochána within that community were reservists to be recruited.

I strongly believe that 2,000 is not enough and there should be 4,000. Garda management should be encouraged to improve the lot of reservists to make them feel appreciated, that their voluntary service has a purpose, and to end the feeling of despair among some, which I am sorry to say I have received letters detailing, that they have chosen to go through a period of training and the end result is that they have been left twiddling their thumbs in Garda stations, wondering why they are there at all.

I welcome the Minister to the House in a week that has not been easy for him. However, there are no easy weeks when one is Minister for Justice and Equality and it has, in many ways, been just another week. The circular was circulated and it could be said that whoever was responsible for that jumped the gun because if he or she had done more research, he or she would have realised that the problem, if there was one and I doubt there was, happens every year in December and was absolutely going to be resolved because the situation would not be tolerated.

As regards the allocation of overtime, the Minister has gone through the increased moneys for Garda overtime every year but the responsibility of how overtime is allocated is a responsibility for the acting Garda commissioner and the senior management team in Garda headquarters. If the Minister was directing how and where money should be spent on overtime, there would be a completely different narrative in the House. It would be very inappropriate for the Minister to have any hand, act or part in directing the Garda on the operational allocation of overtime.

The most worrying aspect is that the document was leaked, which should not have happened. The leak was inappropriate and was an attempt to frighten communities and cause some sort of consternation. It was highly irresponsible because, as we know, it was just a certain procedure that happens in the run-up to Christmas. We need to consider the issue in its totality and be realistic and reasonable. No division of the Garda Síochána was going to be left without overtime and in my view, although I am not based in Garda headquarters, the circular was very premature.

I welcome the speed with which the Minister was able to come to the Seanad to discuss issues, albeit only to deal with statements, to which Senators never get answers. It is in stark contrast to the time that has been spent trying to get the Taoiseach to come to the House. It is good and correct to have the senior Minister in the Chamber. We are usually fobbed off with a junior Minister who has nothing to do with the brief that Senators wish to discuss. I hope I will be more successful in getting answers to my questions than in recent times in the Chamber. I imagine the term "statements" is something of a misnomer.

I thank the Minister for his clarification. The money was speedily and conveniently found, apparently down the back of the sofa. Why did the Garda assistant commissioner state that there was no money for overtime? As the Minister has said, the assistant commissioner is responsible for the management of overtime. Is there a fractious relationship with the Department? There is always an agenda at play, and one wonders what it is in this case, given the serious dysfunction that was uncovered and played out in the past week. There are reports that the overtime provision made in budget 2018 can kick in by next Monday and overtime will be reinstated. However, the force cannot eat into 2018 funds now because that will leave it in the same position at this time next year. If this happens every year, as Senator Conway has said but about which I am unclear, we need to change the date. It is borrowing from the future to pay for the present and that is unsustainable, poor financial management and putting a sticking plaster over the problem. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, yesterday insisted on €5.5 billion being paid back early to the IMF, stating that the Exchequer is in a healthy financial position, with €20 billion in cash and liquid assets. Surely, we could take a few million from that. The Dáil has approved an extra €42 million for overtime but that is largely to pay for the November overtime bill. It beggars belief that the Government has put money before the needs of the people, particularly those in Dublin. It is acknowledged that during the darker nights in the run-up to Christmas, with households stocking up for Santa and family gatherings, there is a greater risk of crime.

The assistant Garda Commissioner stated at a meeting of the Committee of Public Accounts, PAC, last week that in my locality of Dublin South-Central, Ballyfermot and the inner city were a priority for extra police, not Stepaside. This seems to be another division between the Minister and the assistant Garda Commissioner. I am not sure what the agenda is but perhaps it is to do with the news we have been dealing with all week. I acknowledge that it is a priority to continue to police the violent destructive gangs and residents in Dublin South-Central are well used to armed checkpoints. We must ask, however, what protection is given to ordinary law abiding citizens from day to day crime.

I conducted a survey in Dublin South-Central and at the top of that survey was lack of gardaí. People there are at the mercy of drug gangs and increasingly dangerous and fatal anti-social behaviour. That stood out in each area. It does not make any sense that the Government did not allocate enough funding for the police to do their job at one of the busiest times in the year. It is not in the interest of public safety. I ask the Minister to respond urgently to the needs of the people of Dublin and the gardaí and to find extra money, which I believe he has done, very speedily in the past few hours, to lift the ban on overtime. The only solution is to provide gardaí. That is the only solution acceptable to Dublin and elected representatives throughout the country.

We need a proper budget to ensure this does not happen again. The definition of madness is to keep doing it again and again. Senator Conway has said it always happens at this time of year but it seems ludicrous that it has not been addressed.

I am not saying it only about the Garda but about other Departments.

The whole Government is in chaos.

We need multi-annual funding badly.

The stability of An Garda Síochána may be a bit wobbly because it has an acting Commissioner. Where are the reforms that were promised? It needs a good anchor. That will be some time coming.

In the interest of front-line workers doing a job most of us would find far too difficult and demanding, why are the gardaí, like other front-line workers, filling in the gaps with overtime? The people of the entire island need protection and we need to make sure we can pay for that.

I thank the Minister for coming in today. I appreciate his coming in personally because this has been a tough week. While the credibility of An Garda Síochána as an organisation has been repeatedly called into question in recent years, I believe that Irish people still have a lot of trust and belief in their local community Garda. This trust has been fought for and won over several decades of work and partnership. I welcome the fact that the Minister says the money for overtime payments has been allocated.

There are, however, some issues I want to raise. First, there are simply not enough gardaí. According to the Garda Representative Association, GRA, in order to have a similar level of policing in Ireland as in Scotland it is estimated that 17,000 gardaí are required nationwide. Today there are only 13,400. The Minister mentioned a major national recruitment campaign in recent months but that has yet to really make itself clear in the form of gardaí on the streets and working in communities. That is my concern. We are still almost 4,000 gardaí short of what we need for a fully effective police force. Second, we need to acknowledge that we have been over reliant on overtime. It is not sustainable to run an understaffed organisation by asking those limited staff to regularly work extra hours. Overtime is used to facilitate major operations and public gatherings, which there are more of at this time of year coming into the Christmas season, when more alcohol is drunk. Overtime pay should ideally be used in extraordinary circumstances, recognising that for some unforeseen reason, gardaí are being asked to work above and beyond their normal duties, and for a limited period. It should not be used as standard, which is what we hear from gardaí on this issue. It is not a sustainable solution to the shortages, and in an ideal world there would be very little or no requirement to use that budget pot at all. We are relying on it, however, to top up the workforce and we need to address it. The announcement today by the assistant commissioner that this budget has been exhausted was quite alarming.

I would like to consider Garda working conditions and rights. Gardaí have very little ability to negotiate collectively with their employer, the State, as it does not allow them the right to truly unionise, and for those unions to be able to attend the Workplace Relations Commission, and the Labour Court. Collective bargaining would also allow rank and file gardaí to have a real say in the future reforms and improvements in the police force, providing the real expertise necessary to achieve the ideal gardaí of the future. Surely this is something we should at least seriously consider.

Almost all other workers in Ireland have these rights, and while the prospect of Garda strikes, or other industrial action is a very frightening one, the onus is on the State, and on the Department of Justice and Equality in particular, to do everything we can to listen to them and to ensure their working conditions are sufficient for them to do their duty excellently and to continue to benefit from the trust people place in them. There are obvious and serious problems in An Garda Síochána at present, and I do not intend to rehash the debates we have already had on breath tests, Templemore or the appalling treatment of whistleblowers. These events have been truly shocking to witness, and have undermined public trust in An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality. In a majority of cases, gardaí of quite senior rank were ultimately responsible for these decisions. Recently we also learned that the Policing Authority does not believe that An Garda Síochána actually has the capacity to implement the reforms recommended in the 'Changing Policing in Ireland' report. This is a matter of grave concern for us all and we need to take action. In the long term, it is absolutely essential that we get back to work on reforming the entire police force. We need to ensure that our people are safe, that there are enough gardaí on the streets, and that those gardaí feel as protected as possible in performing their duties.

I welcome the Minister here this evening. I am grateful that he came in. This morning I thought it important to table the motion for the Minister to come in to debate this serious issue. Most people who listened to "Morning Ireland" this morning heard reports that there was no budget for overtime for gardaí until the end of December. That has been clarified during the day. It is quite worrying that there would be confusion about that budget. Reading online I see that gardaí report being sent home. They were rostered for overtime last night but were sent home when they reported for duty. Did that happen last night? Were gardaí who reported to work or expected to work after their shift requested to leave the station and go home? That was reported in the media today.

Will the Minister address the reports that went online this afternoon from several national newspapers, to the effect that no funding would be available for Garda overtime until Monday? Today is Wednesday. There remains Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Are the finances available to the inspectors in the stations? Can the Minister send out a loud and clear message that there is cash available for gardaí to work overtime? This is a very important period in the capital and many other cities. These reports were not just about Dublin. They referred to other major urban centres as well.

Before the Minister came into the House I rang several gardaí and asked if they were aware of those instructions being withdrawn and whether they expected to go back to work overtime. Some were on duty and said they had no information. As far as they were aware the statement they heard on 'Morning Ireland' was the position. They do not expect to do overtime any time soon. Overtime is part and parcel of the working practice of a police force.

I accept, as Senator McDowell said, that an exceptional amount of overtime is being done but we know why that has happened. Unfortunately, the training college was closed down by Fianna Fáil and we lost a number of years of input of new gardaí in addition to retirements. Thankfully, the Fine Gael-Labour Party Government was able to re-open the training college and we have seen a number of new gardaí coming onto the beat.

I have huge admiration for the ordinary garda on the street who puts his or her life on the line on a weekly basis to protect the public. They must have a certain amount of confidence in their superiors so that, if they are given information by commissioners, they know it is truthful and factual. At the time, was the instruction that there was no funding for overtime until the end of December truthful and factual? Gardaí have to have trust in their superiors.

This has done the morale of the force no good whatsoever. Let us think of a garda sitting at home listening to news reports all day long saying there is no cash for overtime, yet that garda is rostered for overtime in the coming days and weeks. We cannot have this. I know the Minister and senior gardaí were distracted over the last couple of days but we cannot allow this to happen.

We have huge admiration for the community gardaí who are operating from Ballyfermot to Ballymun and from Ringsend to Phibsborough, who go out daily and work to build up trust. However, we then see their morale torn apart by what the Minister seems to be saying are false reports. If they are false, action has to be taken. We cannot allow the morale of our gardaí to be destroyed in such a cavalier fashion. They have to be able to plan their lives in some way. They are ordinary workers, like ourselves, and they need to know when they will be working overtime and to have reasonable notification. They should not have to listen to the radio in the morning saying, "Gone, gone, gone. You are doing nothing until next January." That is totally unacceptable.

While the Minister is in the House I will ask him a question which I do not expect him to respond to now but to take it away and think about it. We have seen rising traffic levels right across the major urban centres and the roads are getting busier and busier. In the past, during the month of December we had Operation Freeflow, where garda recruits came up to the city and helped traffic to move, kept the bus lanes and yellow boxes clear, and assisted in regard to breathalyser tests, drink driving and all of that. We need that now. The traffic levels in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick are back to the pre-boom era levels. We want to see our citizens getting to work safely and quickly and to make sure there are adequate breathalyser test resources. I suggest that the Minister would have a discussion in the next day or two with the Minister for transport, Deputy Ross, and consider using the Garda recruits in the urban centres to ensure the traffic moves during this busy period. It is important for the traders in those cities and towns that traffic moves and that shoppers can get in and spend their money, and create a little bit of prosperity and further employment. The Minister should take that message away tonight and consider how he could work with the Minister, Deputy Ross, to ensure that, as far as possible, the traffic in our major urban centres flows. I would be grateful if the Minister could come back to me on that issue.

In regard to the reports on the Garda overtime ban, I ask the Minister to be very clear and to the point. Alarms bells go off with me when I hear, "It is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner". I certainly do not want to start asking FOI questions to the Minister's Department in regard to what correspondence was sent by the Garda Commissioner in regard to overtime. The Minister has put the money in place. Let the message go out tonight from this House that there is no problem with money and that there is money to pay for overtime tonight, tomorrow night, Saturday night and Sunday night, and that gardaí can at least be assured they are not going to be turned around and told, "Go home. We haven't the money to pay for you."

I want to thank Senator Humphreys and other Members for tabling this motion and giving me the opportunity to reply to statements by way of clarification. I am very pleased to do this because this is a very serious topic and it is only right I would have the opportunity to reply to the questions raised, which is why I am here.

I am very concerned to ensure that any misunderstanding in regard to Garda overtime and the commitment on the part of the Government to ensure An Garda Síochána is properly resourced is fully clarified. I am due to present a Supplementary Estimate of €44.2 million tomorrow morning for the Garda Vote before the select committee which is intended to address the requirements of the Vote for 2017. I want to be clear. There is absolutely no ban on Garda overtime in the period leading up to Christmas. Any overtime worked during any day in December actually falls due to be paid from the 2018 budget, in any event. There will be gardaí on the streets, and I wish to assure Seanadóirí that gardaí on the streets will be fully paid their basic salary and overtime requirements.

Almost €100 million has been provided for Garda overtime for 2018. I want to reassure people who may have been upset when they heard these reports on the matter. I want to acknowledge that media reports often have a tendency to take on a life of their own. However, the reality is that officials in my Department were in contact with the office of the Garda Commissioner and they have been informed that any misunderstanding that has arisen internally in regard to the availability of the necessary overtime in the period leading up to Christmas has been clarified by the relevant assistant commissioner.

I want to reiterate that Garda management must continue to deliver on the extensive Garda reform programme. I had an opportunity to discuss this in the course of this year's Seanad and I would be happy to come back in the new year and provide Senators with an update on the Garda reform programme. This will ensure there will be maximum benefit from the opportunities presented by that programme which, as I stated earlier, is supported by an unprecedented level of public funding. That programme of reform will be facilitated by the Government's vision of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021.

I want to assure Senator McDowell that I will certainly take on board his comments regarding the Garda Reserve. This is an issue I have addressed recently in the context of discussions with An Garda Síochána. I believe there is a hugely positive role to be played by members of the Garda Reserve on the basis that visibility is the key to reassurance for the public. I feel we can be doing much more. While Senator McDowell would like to see an ambitious plan of up to 4,000 members of the Garda Reserve, I would be happy to look at that after the planned expansion of the reserve to 2,000 members. I believe it is critical that we use the resource that is the Garda Reserve in order to support visible policing. With this in mind, I remind Members there is currently a strategic review under way regarding the role of the Garda Reserve and what it might do to further augment and support the Garda Síochána. I expect that review to be completed by the end of this year and, again, I would be happy to discuss the matter in the Seanad.

I assure Senator Clifford-Lee there will be sufficient funding available to allow for Garda overtime in the run-up to Christmas. She is right about the necessity to ensure this overtime is fully utilised, having regard to the Christmas season.

I have stated that the assistant commissioner has clarified the position internally today. We must acknowledge that the memorandum concerned and referred to by Senators is an internal memorandum. It was designed to inform chief superintendents on the need to manage their budgets. As I have stated, December overtime is paid in January but there should not be any curb, having regard to the internal clarification that was received this evening.

I wish to clarify for Senator Humphreys, who raised the issue in the first instance, that the Government has not been found wanting in the provision of resources to An Garda Síochána. It is incumbent on Garda management to manage effectively and efficiently the resources that have been made available. Senator Conway is right that I do not decide what members of the Garda do overtime in any particular part of the country. If I did, I feel I would be subject to both scrutiny and sanction here in this House. I do not intend to either seek or adopt such a role.

I thank Senators for raising the issue and hope I have provided a measure of clarification. In conjunction with Garda management, we will be keeping all aspects of the Garda budget under close review during the course of 2018.

I will get back to Senator Humphreys. I expect there is something in train along the lines he mentioned. I am happy to speak to him in the next few days about it.

I thank the Minister for his contribution this evening.

When is it proposed to sit again?

At 10.30 a.m. tomorrow.

The Seanad adjourned at 8.55 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 30 November 2017.