Gardaí paid €5.7m compensation for injuries while on duty

Number soars by 21% as GRA says ‘bites, grazes, bruising’ are most common injuries

The amount paid out in compensation to gardaí for sustaining injuries after being attacked while on duty last year soared by 21 per cent to €5.7m.

The amount paid out in compensation to gardaí for sustaining injuries after being attacked while on duty last year soared by 21 per cent to €5.7m.

 

The amount paid out in compensation to gardaí for sustaining injuries after being attacked while on duty last year soared by 21 per cent to €5.7m.

The payments under the Garda (Compensation) Acts also compensate the dependents of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them.

Between 2007 and 2016, a total of €72.4m has been paid out under the scheme to 1,623 recipients.

Separate figures provided by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan in a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman, Michael McGrath TD show that €1.2m has been paid out concerning ‘miscarriages of justice’ cases along with an additional €295,000 in legal costs associated with a miscarriage of justice case.

The figures show that there was €179,277 paid out last year in a miscarriage of justice case and this followed €515,000 paid under the same heading in 2016.

On the compensation payments made to gardaí, the average payout to the 98 gardaí for being attacked during the course of duty last year totalled €58,163.

The payments last year follow €4.7m to 74 claimants in 2016 and €3.6m to 63 claimants in 2015.

The figures show that €4m was paid out in 2014 where the highest payment in 2014 was €374,761.

Spokesman for the Garda Representative Association (GRA), John O’Keeffe said: “Bites, grazes, and bruising are the most common injuries suffered by garda, and then sprains, strains, closed fractures and open wounds.”

Mr O’Keeffe said: “Of even greater concern to the GRA is that these figures are vastly under reported and so misleading.”

Mr O’Keeffe added “There is simply no comparable occupation where employees are likely to suffer such a debilitating range of injuries and subsequent illnesses while carrying out their normal operational duties.

“The solutions are many and varied but briefly, frontline members firstly need an occupational health scheme. Secondly, they require ‘body cams’ or worn body videos which are a vital tool in ensuring that assaults against are properly recorded. Thirdly, each Garda needs to be armed with a non-lethal weapon – namely a Taser.

“On nine out of ten occasions, mere instruction that a Taser will be used, will gain immediate offender compliance. Fourthly, gardaí­ need updated protection protection vests. The current ones are over a decade old, ill-fitting, and provide little or no resistance to sustained ballistic attack.”

Mr O’Keeffe pointed out that the Garda Siochana (Compensation for Malicious Injuries) Bill is currently being drafted.

He said: “It is proposed that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) would have a role in assessing quantum where it has been established that a member is entitled to compensation. If the offer of quantum is not accepted by the member PIAB will authorise the applicant to proceed to court.

“The aim of the proposed legislation is to streamline the process in terms of costs and time delay in processing claims. The GRA have made a submission to Department of Justice in this regard.”