Garda database details 121 injury awards since 2004
Stab injuries to the face, a fractured skull and an instance where a garda suffered epilepsy after sustaining a facial injury are among the types of assault for which gardaí have been awarded compensation since 2004. They are contained in a database detailing awards over €100,000.
The Garda Compensation Database, non-personal information from which was released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, gives details of the injuries maliciously inflicted on gardaí in connection with their duties.
The 121 awards detailed in the database were made on foot of injuries inflicted upon members of the force: in one case, a garda who was struck with a bottle on the head received €301,124, while another was awarded €141,800 after he had his left testicle removed following an assault.
The database records two incidents where gardaí suffered fractured knees, while it also includes incidents where members of the force suffered a fractured rib, ankle and arm.
In three cases, gardaí reported suffering post-traumatic stress, having been threatened with shotguns resulting in awards ranging from €135,000 to €235,000.
The most commonly cited complaints, often listed in addition to other injuries, were soft tissue injuries (cited in 49 cases) and post-traumatic stress disorder (cited in 48 cases).
Back injuries were also common in one in every four cases, while depression as a result of an incident suffered by individual gardaí featured in 16 of the 121 cases detailed.
In six cases, injuries were sustained through human bites. Blood contact was recorded in two incidents, while one case involved post-traumatic stress following a needle stick injury. In this latter case, the garda was awarded €198,000.
The highest amount awarded in the nine-year-period recorded in the database was in 2008, when a garda received €990,000 in compensation after he was shot in the knee.
Although the database does not contain personal information, contemporaneous reports show that the case refers to Garda Peter O’Connor. He was shot in the knee with a shotgun when he came to the aid of a man held up by gunmen as he attempted to make a night lodgement at a Dublin bank in March 1995.
He and two colleagues received gold Scott Medals following the incident.
The second highest award – of just under €790,000 – was awarded last year, arising from back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by the garda.
Although the database released to The Irish Times only contains awards over €100,000, the Department of Justice website provides headline figures for compensation awards and related legal costs from 2000 onwards.
It shows that last year 112 gardaí received €6.7 million between them in compensation awards while a further €3.6 million was paid in legal costs.
In that 13-year period since 2000, over €90.4 million was paid in Garda compensation awards, while a further €34.3 million has been paid in legal costs relating to cases brought by members of the Garda who were maliciously injured in the course of their duties.