The highest ever budgetary allocation for the Justice Sector has been announced by Minister Helen McEntee in today’s Budget.
The record €3 billion allocation for 2021 will fund the recruitment of extra Gardaí and Garda staff, the reform and upgrade of digital infrastructure across the Justice Sector, the Courts Service modernisation programme, as well as wider changes across the sector.
In addition to the 2021 Budget allocation, the Department of Justice say Minister McEntee is also in advanced discussions with the Minister for Public Expenditure on securing additional funding for the remainder of 2020 which will allow An Garda Síochána to immediately increase their fleet of vehicles, fund overtime, and buy extra PPE and other equipment to help with Covid-19 and wider policing.
The immediate allocation for 70 new cars will help An Garda Síochána to replace some cars hired for Covid use with new vehicles for permanent use in the Garda fleet.
These will be funded by a supplementary estimate for 2020.
Ms McEntee has also announced extra funding to tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence, reflecting one of her key priorities as Minister for Justice.
This includes an allocation for the implementation of the recommendations of the O’Malley Report on Protections for Vulnerable Witnesses in the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Offences
In the coming weeks, Minister McEntee will publish a detailed plan on how the recommendations of the O’Malley Report will be implemented.
The €3 billion allocation for 2021 includes:
- Up to 620 new Garda recruits and 500 Garda staff, who will help free up more Gardaí for frontline duties
- €42 million to modernise the Justice Sector through increased digital and ICT investment, including €8 million for the Courts Modernisation Programme and €5 million for the Department of Justice ICT strategy
- €27 million for Covid-related measures
- An extra €10 million in capital expenditure and €4.4 million in current expenditure for Forensic Science Ireland
- €2.7 million in increased funding to combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence, as well as support for victims
- An extra €2 million to fund additional staffing for the Data Protection Commission and help it achieve its goal of having well in excess of 200 staff by the end of 2021.
- An overall increase of €147 million in current expenditure and €51 million capital funding in the Justice Sector, bringing the total justice increase for Budget 2021 to almost €200 million.