Tuesday, 11th April, 2017
John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of compensation cases brought by Gardaí against her department for injuries suffered or losses incurred in the line of duty which have resulted in financial awards or out of court settlements in the past ten years; and the total compensation pay out relating to such cases over this period.
REPLY (Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald):
The Garda (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the performance of their duties as members of An Garda Síochána and for the dependents of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them. The total number of cases in respect of which awards were made in the period 2007 to 2016 was 1,525 and the total compensation paid was €66.7 million.
There is an Ex-Gratia Scheme in place for members injured or killed while driving an official vehicle in the line of duty where no malice was involved. The scheme is set out in the Garda Conciliation Council Agreed Report No. 639. In the period 2007 to 2016, four awards were made totalling €290,000.
November 22, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Courthouse redevelopment project in Waterford; and the timeline for its completion.
As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that Waterford courthouse is one of seven courthouses nationwide which are currently being built or refurbished as part of the Governments Infrastructure Stimulus programme.
Work on the refurbishment and extension of the courthouse commenced in December 2015 and is expected to be completed by late 2017. The refurbishment and extension of the existing courthouse will accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities and will, when completed, provide significantly improved facilities for all court users in Waterford.
April 20, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of members of An Garda Síochána stationed in Co. Waterford; the number who retired in each of the past five years; their rank on leaving the force; and the number of officers of each rank of Garda, Detective Garda, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent currently deployed in the Waterford division compared to five years ago.
REPLY (Minister Frances Fitzgerald)
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Districts and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of members stationed in the Waterford Garda Division on the 29 February 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available was 280. This compares with 302 on the 28 February 2011. The table below sets out the breakdown by rank. The information supplied by the Garda Commissioner does not distinguish between Sergeant and Detective Sergeant.
With regard to the number of members and their ranks who have retired from this Division, the information is not at hand in the Department and I have asked the Commissioner to supply this information which will be forwarded to the Deputy on receipt.
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the protocol by which persons may gain recourse to compensation for losses, or the payment of costs, arising from damage caused to their property by members of An Garda Síochána, acting in the course of their duties.
REPLY | Minister Frances Fitzgerald):
Claims from property owners for damage caused to their properties arising from searches undertaken by the Garda Síochána are delegated to and managed by the State Claims Agency (SCA) and claims should be submitted in writing to the Agency. Each claim is considered separately depending on the particular facts of the case.
The general policy of the State Claims Agency, however, in relation to such claims is that where the Gardaí cause damage to property in conducting a search, any claim from the property owner in respect of that damage is contested unless there’s demonstrable negligence on the part of the Garda authorities and/ or where they did not have a search warrant or other lawful authority to carry out a forced entry operation. Search warrants authorise the Gardaí to use force to gain entry to a property if necessary and the Gardaí have no legal liability to the property owner for the damage caused in forcing entry to the property. The approach taken by the State Claims Agency in contesting these claims has been upheld by the Courts in a number of claims brought to Court by property owners.