20 gardai to join welfare staff from next month
Radical plans which involve the secondment of 20 gardai to the Department of Social Protection are due to be rolled out from next month, the Irish Independent can confirm.
The officers will join forces with 91 social welfare inspectors as part of the government's crackdown on welfare fraud, according to briefing documents prepared for Minister Joan Burton.
The pilot scheme has been given the green light by the Department of Public Expenditure and the necessary resources are due to allocated from September.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan have been consulted on the plans, which will see 20 officers transferred to the Department's Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
Those who are seconded to the department will work with inspectors in compiling evidence of welfare fraud.
The officers seconded to the department will operate in various urban centres across the country, including Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Dundalk. They are due to remain on secondment for a period of 12 months, however, it's understood that Ms Burton is considering extending the scheme in the future.