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'Extraordinary overtime ban will hit feud policing' - gardai

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Commissioner Drew Harris defended the overtime cuts

Commissioner Drew Harris defended the overtime cuts

Commissioner Drew Harris defended the overtime cuts

Anti-burglary patrols and gardai outside the homes of gangland targets in the Hutch/Kinahan feud could be badly affected by an overtime cut in the capital.

All discretionary overtime in Dublin was cancelled at 6pm yesterday while efforts to cut other funding to police protests and the Port have also been made.

Senior gardai said the cuts were necessary to "address the budgetary pressures currently being experienced".

Earlier this month it emerged that the garda budget was €30m in the red, with over €20m owing to overtime and related costs.

The directive from the Assistant Commissioner of the Dublin Region casts doubt over funding for Operation Thor and Operation Hybrid patrols which were launched in response to the gangland feud.

Garda management have said that "clarity is being sought" over these operations and, until it is resolved, overtime for such units will be sanctioned only "following consideration of an application".

Overtime for administrative duties has been cancelled immediately while overtime for court attendances, protection posts and protests will be granted only in "exceptional circumstances".

The overtime cut for the capital came just hours after similar announcements were made for national detective units investigating serious crime.

Cancelled

Yesterday, a directive was issued by garda HQ which said non-discretionary overtime for units in Special Crime Operations (SCO) was being cancelled.

Units affected by the over-time ban include the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) which has been at the forefront of garda operations targeting the Hutch and Kinahan gangs.

However, a senior source said threat-to-life operations would not be affected.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the decision to cut overtime was regrettable but the current situation was not sustainable.

"An Garda Siochana must work within the annual budget provided to it by Government," he said. "This has been stressed continually to garda managers at all levels throughout 2018.

"Regrettably, An Garda Siochana will significantly exceed the budget this year. This is not a sustainable position.

"To minimise the impact on policing and security activity, while reducing the excess spend before the end of the year, I have cut discretionary overtime and administrative overtime."

The decision has been strongly criticised by the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which described it as "extraordinary".

"This will impact on the capacity of all gardai on the front- line to do their job - particularly those involved in the investigation of crime gangs in the capital," GRA communications director John O'Keeffe said.


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