Number of frontline gardaí to increase as over €3bn allocated to justice

Budget 2022: Recruitment drive a key feature of next year's justice spend

Spending on the justice sector will be €3.15bn next year, a 5% increase on this year. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Spending on the justice sector will be €3.15bn next year, a 5% increase on this year. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

Higher spending on justice next year will increase the number of frontline gardaí and help protect the victims of domestic and gender-based violence, Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has said.

Spending on the sector – which includes the Garda, Irish Prison Service and Courts Service, among others – will be €3.15 billion next year, a 5 per cent or €145 million increase on this year.

Ms Humphreys announced plans to recruit 800 gardaí next year and 400 civilian workers to the force. The Minister said the Covid-19 pandemic had forced the temporary closure of the Garda College in Templemore but that she was “delighted” that “lost ground” would be made up next year.

“Moving uniformed gardaí from administrative roles will continue next year, thus allowing gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties, supported by the recruitment of 400 additional Garda staff,” she said.

“In addition, the expansion of the Garda Mountain Bike Unit will support visible policing in our towns and cities.”

While the 800 Garda members and 400 civilian staff will be new to the force next year, the plan to recruit them is not. It is part of a long-term plan to increase the Garda to 15,000 sworn members 4,000 civilian staff.

Other areas of justice-related spending announced in the budget include €13 million to tackle domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and victims of crime; €6.7 million increase for youth diversion projects; €5.2 million increase for victims and improvements for Garda Divisional Protective Services Units, which investigate sexual crime; and a €3 million scheme to regularise undocumented people.

Target strength of 9,500

Meanwhile, the defence sector has been allocated €1.1 billion, an increase of €35 million on last year.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said the allocation would meet ongoing pay and allowances costs for the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence. He added the funding was commensurate with the Defence Forces reaching its target strength of 9,500.

“The capital funding of €141 million for 2022 will allow defence to continue the replacement and renewal of essential military equipment and will enable continued investment in Defence Forces installations,” he said.

“This builds upon the significant levels of capital investment in defence in recent years.”