As the Deputy will appreciate the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
However I fully appreciate the dangers the men and women of An Garda Síochána face and the traumatic incidents they encounter in the course of their duty. While the Deputy will appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the provision of employee welfare supports, the Government is committed to supporting the work of An Garda Síochána and to ensuring that the organisation is properly resourced to carry out its important role in protecting our communities. As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Siochana's budget for 2020 from €1.76 billion to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.
The Deputy may also be interested to know that the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing recognised that policing is an unusually stressful job and in accordance with 'A Policing Service for the Future", the four year implementation plan giving effect to that report, work has begun on the development of a Wellness programme in An Garda Síochána.
In relation to the specific question raised by the Deputy, I am informed by the Garda authorities that sickness absences are recorded on the Sickness Management Absence System (SAMS) under the following categories- ordinary illness; occupational injury /illness arising from duty; and critical illness. The category of occupational injury/ illness arising from duty includes the following sub-categories:
- Injury on Duty: Accident
- Injury on Duty: RTA
- Malicious Injury Off Duty
- Malicious Injury On Duty
- Occupational illness arising from duty
I am advised by the Garda authorities that there is currently no specific sub-categories on the Sickness Management Absence System for the recording of absences due to assault, needle-stick injury and psychological shock or trauma (psychological shock or trauma may be recorded under the Mental Health category). It is not possible to add comments on a sickness absence report.
The table, which has been provided to me by An Garda Síochána, sets out the available statistics showing the number of Garda members who were absent on sick leave due to an injury arising from duty during the period referred to by the Deputy. However, it should be noted that as set out above, it is not possible to break these figures down further to address only the issue of assault needle-stick injury or shock or trauma; and further that these figures do not account for any case in which a member may have been injured in the course of duty but did not avail of sick leave.
Number of Injuries on Duty to members of An Garda Síochána that were recorded in the Waterford division in 2016 to 2018
*Sick Leave Statistics as recorded on SAMS and reported @ 01.02.2017
**Sick Leave Statistics as recorded on SAMS and reported @ 06.02.2018
***Sick Leave Statistics as recorded on SAMS and reported @ 05.02.2019