Funding €60m garda overtime bill a priority
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will be seeking "a slight increase", likely in the region of €50m-€100m, on the €2.4bn her department received last year, the Irish Independent understands.
She wishes to maintain existing initiatives, such as those targeting feuding drugs gangs, while ramping up recruitment in the gardaí and some regulatory bodies.
The minister's priorities for the Budget include:
- Recruiting 800 extra gardaí;
- Maintaining gangland crime and international terror police operations, with overtime expected to cost €60m for the year;
- Ramping up a civilianisation programme to free up gardaí from desk work;
- Funding the development of a new State forensic science laboratory in Dublin;
- Significantly increasing staff levels at the Charities Regulator and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner;
- Replacing old IT infrastructure in the Courts Service.