A shocking waste of taxpayers' money
LAST month, Justice Minister Alan Shatter disclosed last year's provisional bill for garda overtime: €76.5m. Even in a country accustomed to gigantic bills for everything from bank debt to judicial tribunals, that seems an enormous sum of money.
In fact, it is a considerable improvement on what went before. In 2007, the overtime bill reached a record €135m. We can therefore welcome a substantial saving. But it is still far too high, and some of the reasons are dismaying.
Nobody can object to unavoidable spending to combat violent crime -- or white-collar crime, an area to which we will have to devote more sources. A very different picture emerges when we learn that €17m of the €76.5m represented payments for attendance at court cases which were simply not heard.