Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal. Moreover, under the Act, the Commissioner is responsible for directing and controlling and for carrying on and managing generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána.
Allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. The arrangements for Garda overtime are not a matter for which I, as Minister, have responsibility.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that in total, the overtime hours for the organisation in 2017 amounted to 3,682,442. This calculation of hours includes briefing time, in addition to all other types of overtime, including overtime expended on specific operations such as Operation Thor, Organised Crime Operations, Port Security Operations and the visit to Ireland of the Prince of Wales. I am advised by Garda authorities that for operational reasons, it is not possible to provide the breakdown of overtime hours by District, as requested by the Deputy.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that calculating the total figure of regular tour hours worked by Garda members during 2017 would take a disproportionate amount of time to calculate, bearing in mind the nature of Garda rosters and other factors such as special leave, sick leave, secondments and so on.
More generally, I would like to assure the Deputy that I have discussed the Garda financial position with Commissioner Harris. We are agreed that it is essential that value for money is achieved with the significant resources at his disposal.
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. Under the governance and oversight arrangements in place between my Department and An Garda Síochána, the evolution of Garda expenditure is kept under review and there is regular structured engagement in relation to resources, including overtime, between An Garda Síochána and other relevant parties including my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Policing Authority.