Thursday 20 June 2019

Cost of review into the future of Garda force now over €1m

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The cost of the 'root and branch' review of policing in the wake of a string of Garda controversies has topped €1m as it approaches the end of its work.

The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland is due to deliver its proposals to Government in September.

Chaired by Kathleen O'Toole, a former chief of police in Seattle and Boston, the group was set up in May 2017. Records released to the Irish Independent show that total expenditure stood at just over €1m at the end of May 2018.

This includes €326,773 in salaries and wages for its administrative staff and €280,586 in Commission member fees, all of which is subject to taxation and other appropriate deductions.

The fees for Commission members includes €81,000 to Ms O'Toole in relation to the 108 days she worked to the end of May.

Eight of the 10 other Commission members are entitled to €25,000 per annum.

Two members who have permanent salaried positions in the public sector do not receive payments.

Travel costs for the Commission amounted to €161,299.

This included the cost of Commission members travelling to the group's meetings from abroad.

Ms O'Toole is based abroad, as is Peter Fahy, who has held senior positions in UK police forces, Harvard academic Dr Antonio Oftelie, and Tonita Murray, an international police development consultant.

The travel costs also included carrying out domestic and international field studies.

The Commission held a public consultation exercise involving several meetings around Ireland, a process Ms O'Toole has previously described as "the most interesting and valuable component of our work".

A total of €156,325 was spent on general consultancy services and public relations, including on the Commission's public engagement campaign, media liaison and expert advice.

Other costs include €18,084 on information technology services and €8,589 on "refreshments/lunches/catering".

The Commission has an allocated budget of €1.5m.

A spokesperson said that it was operating within its budget and would publish an update of its activities next month. "The Commission will report in September as planned," a statement added.

Its report is to make proposals to Government in relation to policing structures and management arrangements among other areas.

Irish Independent

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