Friday 23 August 2019

Charlie Flanagan 'at a loss' over Gardaí overtime claims

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is “at a loss to comprehend” how it was claimed by senior Gardaí that there is no money to pay for overtime in the run up to Christmas.

Officials from the Department of Justice have been in contact with Garda Headquarters seeking clarification on a notice that was sent out to chief superintendents in the Dublin Metropolitan Region.

Independent.ie revealed last night that Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy had advised officers that overtime would be cancelled until the end of the year due to a funding shortfall.

The move left rank-and-file gardaí in a state of “complete shock” and led to claims that burglaries and gang crime were likely to rise significantly.

However, speaking in the Seanad Mr Flanagan said there was no threat to overtime in the coming weeks.

“It is important to note that overtime worked in December actually falls due to be paid from the 2018 budget and,” he said, adding that just under €100m has been made available for overtime next year.

 “I might add that my officials have been in contact with the Garda Commissioner’s Office and have been informed that any misunderstanding that has arisen internally in relation to the availability of necessary overtime in the period leading up to Christmas has been clarified by the relevant Assistant Commissioner,” the minister said.

Mr Flanagan said Gardaí should be “acutely aware of the need to utilise the resources being made available to them in the most efficient and effective manner to ensure high visibility policing in our communities”.

“This entails proper budgetary planning to ensure that the overtime requirements for any given year can be met in a managed and coherent way,” he said.

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