The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD has welcomed the €2.98 billion budgetary allocation for the justice sector in 2020. The €190 million increase on Budget 2019 includes funding for:
- Up to 700 new Garda recruits and additional Garda staff
- Funding for the establishment of the Judicial Council
- Increased funding for Forensic Science Ireland
- €120 million increase in current expenditure
- €70 million increase in capital funding
The total gross allocation for the Garda vote in 2020 is €1.882 billion. This is an increase of €122 million (7%) on the 2019 allocation.
The increase of almost €98 million in current expenditure includes:
- €76 million increase in pay, which provides for recruitment costs to date and the recruitment of up to 700 new Gardaí and further recruitment of Garda staff
- Targeted severance package for senior personnel as part of the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing
- Provision for general public service pay increases and an additional payday in 2020
- Additional funding of €12 million across a range of subheads to reflect the impact that the growth in staff numbers and increased operational activity is having on a range of expenditure areas.
The total capital budget for An Garda Síochána is €116.5 million, an increase of €24 million (26%) from 2019. This will include:
- Continued investment in ICT and communications technology in the order of €75 million
- €9 million for the Garda Fleet
- €32 million for the Capital Building and Refurbishment Programme
- Major Projects include the project to relocate An Garda Síochána from Harcourt Square to Military Road in Dublin and the completion of Fitzgibbon Street redevelopment
The overtime budget for 2020 has been maintained at €95 million. Combined with ever-increasing Garda numbers, this will provide flexibility of deployment for the Commissioner to meet demands which may arise over and above those which can be met from rostered Garda resources.
Minister Flanagan stated:
This scale of resources, particularly in a difficult budgetary environment, is a clear illustration of the Government’s commitment to the Garda reform process and the implementation of the plan, A Policing Service for the Future.
Budget 2020 will allow the Garda Commissioner to recruit up to 700 additional Gardaí and to continue to augment the organisation with additional Garda staff. Within the budgetary envelope, the Commissioner will decide the scale of recruitment based on operational needs.
Investment in ICT and communications technology is an important component of the Garda Reform Programme and I am pleased to have secured a significant increase in the capital budget. This also acknowledges the increasingly important role of technology in supporting members of An Garda Síochána in their daily work of keeping us safe and investigating crime.
Justice and Equality Vote
The Justice and Equality vote increases by €47.6 million (9%) on the 2019, bringing the total gross allocation to €549 million.
This includes a €21 million increase in capital funding, which will bring the allocation for the construction of the Forensic Science Laboratory to almost €40 million in 2020.
The other areas in receipt of additional funding are as follows:
- Establishment of the Judicial Council (€1m)- total allocation €1.250 million
- Forensic Science Ireland (current expenditure) (€2.6m)- total allocation €54.4 million
- Criminal Assets Bureau (€0.5m)- total allocation €9.1 million
- Legal Aid Board – providing for a continuation of the Abhaile Scheme for mortgage arrears (€1m) in addition to existing funding– total allocation for the Legal Aid Board €42.2 million
- Inspector of Prisons resources (€0.7m)- total allocation €1.2 million
- Data Protection Commissioner (€1.6m)- total allocation €16.9 million
- Research- including the necessary funding for the second year of the multiannual Sexual Violence Prevalence Study by the CSO (€0.7m) – total allocation €1.3 million
- Direct Provision (€10m) – total allocation €80.6 million
- Immigration Service Delivery, including additional staffing to fast-track applications thus reducing pressure on Direct Provision (€1m)
- Probation Service (€1.1m)- total allocation for Probation Service €48.9 million
- Criminal Legal Aid (€4m)- total allocation €65.3 million
- Equality and LGBTI+ initiatives (€0.7m)
- Private Security Authority (€0.5m)- total allocation €3.8 million
- Funding for victims of crime (€0.2m)- total allocation €1.9 million
- Gambling Regulator (seed funding) (€0.1m)
- Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (€0.5m)- total allocation €11.2 million
The Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton said:
While funding of over €80 million is being allocated towards the significant pressures being faced by the Direct Provision system, the requirements and policy responses will need to be kept under review on a whole-of-Government basis in 2020.
An Inter-Departmental Group chaired by my Department is reviewing how best to meet our obligations in providing material supports to people seeking international protection. Their recommendations, expected shortly, and which will feed into considerations by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy, are expected to have an impact on this area of expenditure.
Minister Stanton also acknowledged the impact of Equality Budgeting. He said
I am pleased that an Equality Budgeting analysis took place this year, following our engagement with the OECD, who have provided us with a framework. This approach to budgeting is one that we will need to augment and be guided by into the future.
The Minister continued,
Increased funding has been provided for LGBTI+ initiatives. This funding will support implementation of the LGBTI+ Strategy which the Government plans to publish shortly.
Justice and Policing Transformation
Funding was provided in 2019 for the two major transformation programmes underway in Justice and Policing and the Budget provides that funding will continue in 2020.
The implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland is being overseen by the Implementation Group on Police Reform.
This year the Department of Justice and Equality underwent a major restructuring with the introduction of a new functional model. This model aims to enable the Department to be become more strategic and forward-thinking, more open and transparent, and more flexible to meet the changed demands of the environment in which it now operates.
An increase of €24.3 million (6.8%) on the 2019 allocation will bring the total gross allocation of €383.3 million.
The current expenditure increase of almost €10 million will include €5 million across a number of areas to meet the demands arising from higher prisoner numbers and an increased maintenance cost of the prisons estate, along with €5 million in pay increases.
The total capital budget for prisons is €46.7 million in 2020, compared with €32.3 million in 2019. Most of this will be utilised for the major redevelopment of Limerick Prison.
The total gross allocation of €150.9 million for the Courts Vote is an increase of €12.5 million (9%) on 2019 allocation.
Minister Flanagan welcomed the increase of almost €2.5million in current expenditure.
This allocation is important in that it will improve access to justice. I am particularly pleased to note that €1.2 million will be spent on day-to-day running costs, which will result in more effective and efficient services. €300,000 of the current expenditure allocation will provide for additional judicial support staff for the Court of Appeal. I welcome also the increase of €10 million in the capital budget for the Courts.
Note for Editors
Gross expenditure budgets for the 6 Votes in the Justice Vote Group total €2.98 billion and cover the following Votes:
An Garda Síochána (€1.882billion), Prisons (€383.3 million), Courts Service (€150.9 million), Department of Justice and Equality (€549 million), Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (€6.8 million) and Policing Authority (€3.4 million).