Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (238, 243)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

238. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the State is liable for the legal costs on both sides of the claim in respect of compensation claims lodged by sworn and non-sworn members of An Garda Síochána; if so, the number of such claims; the nature of the claims; if they relate to sworn or non-sworn members in each of the past five years; the Vote that is liable and-or accountable for the liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46237/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

243. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a contingent liability is in place for compensation claims within An Garda Síochána; if so, the amount; if it relates to sworn and unsworn members; the vote this is attached to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 243 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for sworn members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the performance of their duties as members of An Garda Síochána and for the dependants of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them.

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy, I can confirm that sworn members of An Garda Síochána are eligible to make an application for compensation under the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945, as amended. In these cases, the State is liable for legal costs on both sides in respect of applications authorised by the Minister to apply to the High Court under the terms of the legislation.

More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that under the Acts, as Minister I have the responsibility to approve or refuse applications for compensation to be put forward to the High Court, having regard to the circumstances of the case and the legislation. This assessment is discharged by officials of my Department. Before deciding if an applicant should be authorised to apply to the High Court for compensation in respect of the injury, all medical reports submitted by the applicant, together with a report on the incident by An Garda Síochána and a report on the injury by the Garda Chief Medical Officer must be considered. The process of progressing an application for compensation from the date of its receipt to the date it is authorised, may take a considerable period of time. Once an application is approved, it is for the individual concerned to apply to the High Court for compensation.

I can inform the Deputy however that the number of applications received under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945 in the last five years are as follows:

Year

No of Applications received under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945

2015

191

2016

204

2017

181

2018

161

2019 (to 30 October)

124

Relevant compensation awards are paid from the Garda Vote. It is not possible to give a breakdown of the nature of the claims submitted under the Act.

As the Deputy will be aware from my previous replies in this regard, I am informed that the amounts paid under the Scheme and legal costs arising in the period 2015- September 2019 are set out in the following table:

Year

Number of cases Completed

Awards paid (€m)

Costs Paid (€m)*

Year

Number of cases Completed

Awards paid (€m)

Costs Paid (€m)*

2015

93

€3.60

€1.30

2016

66

€4.70

€1.60

2017

111

€5.80

€2.00

2018

126

€4.60

€1.80

At September 2019

68

€5.60

€0.81

*Legal costs paid in any particular year do not necessarily correspond to the awards made in that year.

It should be noted that the above information relates only to Garda compensation cases under Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941 and 1945 Acts and does not relate to claims from An Garda Síochána staff under management by the State Claims Agency.

In relation to the issue of contingent liability, the Deputy may wish to note the content of the Appropriations Account 2018 for Vote 20, which sets out further information in that regard. www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2019/Vote-20-An-Garda-Siochana.pdf.