For clarity, I wish to inform the House that it is not the case that there are more than 4,000 Gardaí currently off duty due to injuries received in the course of their work. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the most recent figure, as of August 2020, is 155 Gardaí.
As the Deputy will be aware, in May 2017, the Government published the General Scheme of the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Bill.
The new Scheme is intended to repeal and replace the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941 to 1945. The 1941 and 1945 Acts provide compensation in respect of death or injury which is maliciously inflicted upon a member of An Garda Síochána while on duty or in connection with their duties.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) was approached, with the assistance of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and agreed involvement in the proposed new compensation arrangements. The PIAB will, under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003, assess quantum in Garda compensation cases.
I understand that, during the preparation of the new General Scheme, a copy of same was circulated to the Garda Commissioner and to the Garda Representative Associations. The General Scheme was amended to reflect their key concerns. In addition, the views of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the State Claims Agency, and the PIAB were taken into account in developing the Scheme.
Following approval by Government, the General Scheme was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for drafting. Work is ongoing and officials from my Department will engage with stakeholders, including the Garda Representative Associations.
The Scheme is intended to operate along the following broad lines—
- The member will, within 6 months of the injury, submit an application for compensation to the Garda Commissioner,
- the Commissioner will arrange for the preparation of a report confirming that the injury was inflicted as a result of a malicious incident as defined in the legislation,
- if the report is to the effect that the injury was inflicted as a result of a malicious incident, the member is entitled to compensation,
- if the report is to the effect that the injury was not inflicted as a result of a malicious incident, the member will be able to seek a review by the review officer,
- if the review officer determines that the injury was inflicted as a result of a malicious incident, the member is entitled to compensation and the claim proceeds,
- where the report determines that the injury was inflicted as a result of a malicious incident, the report together with the application and accompanying documentation is to be sent directly to PIAB and the State Claims Agency by the Commissioner or review officer, as the case may be,
- PIAB will process the application in accordance with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 and make an assessment of quantum,
- applicant and respondent (State Claims Agency on behalf of Commissioner) will be notified of the assessment and have an opportunity to accept or reject the assessment,
- if either or both reject, PIAB will authorise applicant to proceed to court, the State Claims Agency will manage the court proceedings on behalf of the State.