Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Ceisteanna (625)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

625. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Justice the estimated cost of increasing the number of community gardaí by 25% in 2021. [8626/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no role in decisions on such matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. The significant level of funding provided over recent years is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, there are now approximately 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide.

Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí, subject to public health considerations regarding the operation of the Garda College. The Budget allocation also provides for an increase in supervisory ranks at Sergeant and Inspector level.

The table below shows the estimated incremental salary costs if the current number of Community Gardaí is increased by 25%. I am advised that as at 31 December 2020, there is a total (across three Garda ranks) of 751 Community Gardaí.

Salary costs are calculated using the midpoint of the current Garda Salary scale and include fixed allowances which the member is entitled to. An estimate of Employer’s PRSI is also included. Allowances for unsocial hours and any potential overtime payments in excess of standard briefing time are not included.

25% increase

Community Gardaí

€9,782,882

Community Sergeants

€1,464,204

Community Inspectors

€78,043

Total

€11,325,129

However it is important to note that, to date, the categorisation of Community Garda has been restricted to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána and all Gardaí have a key role to play in community policing, a point emphasised by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

This community focussed approach has never been more evident than in the work carried out by all members of the Gardaí in supporting communities throughout the country over the course of the last year as part of the national effort to combat COVID-19.