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Garda Overtime

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 13 June 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Questions (7)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

7. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total Garda overtime budget in 2010, 2011, 2012 and the estimated budget in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28300/13]

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Oral answers (33 contributions) (Question to Justice)

Expenditure on Garda overtime has been reducing as part of the necessary reduction in public expenditure. Provision for Garda overtime was €78.2 million in 2010, €80.9 million in 2011 and €42.4 million in 2012. It should be noted that the 2011 figure includes overtime in respect of duties carried out during the State visits of President Obama and Queen Elizabeth II.

The Garda overtime provision for this year is €39.6 million. While this is a slight decrease on the provision for 2012, two additional factors must be taken into account. The first is that the Haddington Road agreement contains a proposal to reduce the cost of voluntary Garda overtime. The second is that separate provision has been made in the Garda Vote in 2013 for Garda costs, including overtime, arising in connection with the current Irish EU Presidency.

More generally, Garda management, as part of the efficiency drive which must continue right across the public service, is keeping under continuing review the scope for measures, whether through revised rosters, better deployment or otherwise, which have the potential to reduce the need for overtime.

The priority will remain the deployment of the maximum number of gardaí on front-line operational duties, and indeed the latest crime statistics published by the Central Statistics Office reflect the excellent work being done by the Garda Síochána in this regard.

We have questioned the Minister several times in respect of the Garda budget that has been voted for this year. We outlined to the Minister details of the shortfall which was reported by Tom Brady in the Irish Independent and the Minister has consistently denied that there will be a shortfall in the Garda payroll budget for this calendar year. I wish to ask the Minister about this again. Is the Minister confirming again today that there is no shortfall? Can the Minister confirm that he will not have to arrange for a Supplementary Estimate to meet the expected shortfall which, it has been put to me and others, will be required by virtue of the fact that the payroll budget afforded to An Garda Síochána will not meet the present complement in the force, which is in the region of 13,300 members?

It has been reported by reputable people that the Garda management in the Phoenix Park does not have sufficient funds to pay the force for the full year. What is the position? Will the Minister confirm - he has not done so to date - that the force has a sufficient payroll budget and that it will not require a supplement?

The Deputy constantly moves from one issue to another. He was trying to suggest some time ago-----

Minister, will you just address the questions, please?

Yes, I am going to address the question.

There is no need for the Minister to give a commentary. Answer the question.

Deputy, I am actually in the Chair. Did you notice? Let me handle this, please.

The Deputy has previously suggested that the Garda is unable to fight against crime because of diminished numbers. Now, it has been absolutely established that the crime figures are reducing.

No. I am asking the Minister if he will pay the gardaí for doing their jobs.

The Deputy is now suggesting that members of the Garda will not be paid for doing their jobs.

It has been reported that the Minister is not paying them and that he has not given them a proper payroll budget.

I am asking the Minister to address that issue.

If the Deputy keeps on shouting at me I cannot reply.

I am not shouting at the Minister. I am simply trying to get him to address the issue.

Does anyone notice that I am standing? The rules of the House are that you resume your seats when I am standing. Thank you. Minister, please, let us make this a pleasant question-and-answer session for all of us.

It is fine and pleasant on this side.

I am in charge. Minister, will you please answer the question succinctly?

To continue, the Deputy is now suggesting that gardaí will not be paid until the end of the year.

No. I am not suggesting it. It was reported and, by the way, the Minister did not deny the report.

A Cheann Comhairle, it is not really possible to respond to questions when one is shouted at by a Deputy.

I am not shouting at the Minister.

Either he wants to hear the answers or he does not.

The Minister has obviously been to the Terry Prone school of presentation.

No one is shouting at the Minister. He should simply answer the question.

Minister, you can say there are funds to pay the Garda until the end of the year. Just keep it simple.

I will reply as I deem appropriate, not as instructed. I can say to the Deputy that gardaí will of course be fully and properly paid for doing their duties throughout the year. If the Deputy's party had had its way there would be €90 million less available this year to pay the Garda Síochána and to provide for resources than happens to be the case.

This is a drum, I suggest, that the Deputy should stop beating. The Deputy is trying to cause alarm and concern within members of the force.

The drum the Minister is beating is not gaining any traction. The Minister should live in the present.

The reality is, as the Deputy is aware, that there is no question of members of the Garda not being properly remunerated.

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