One garda last year more than doubled his pay when he earned over €62,000 in overtime alone, out of a €56m overtime payout for members of the force.
New figures released by An Garda Síochána in response to a freedom of information request show the Garda overtime bill last year rocketed by 48.5% from €37.7m in 2014 to €56.3m.
The 2015 overtime bill is the highest since a spend of €79.68m in 2011, where costs of providing security for major events including the visit of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II contributed to the payout.
The bill last year compared to €44m on overtime in 2013 and €41.5m in 2012.
A Garda spokesman said yesterday the increase in overtime spend from 2014 to 2015 arose for a number of reasons.
He said a number of major policing operations required additional overtime, such as the visit by Britain’s Prince Charles, and the implementation of anti-crime and anti-burglary initiatives such as Operation Thor.
An overtime fund of €4.5m has been set aside for Operation Thor, which is in place to deal with the increase in burglaries.
However, only €1m of that was spent in 2015 and the remaining €3.5m is to be spent in the first quarter of this year.
The spokesman stated that in addition, “due to the timing of Garda roster end dates in 2015, An Garda Síochána was in a position to facilitate the payment of overtime and allowances associated with the roster ending December 6 within the 2015 financial year. In previous years, due to payroll processing deadlines, this roster would have been paid in January of the following year.”
However, commenting on the increase in the overtime bill, president of the Garda Representative Association Dermot O’Brien said: “Garda overtime is being used to make up for the lack of personnel and lack of resources on the ground. It is wall- papering over the cracks.”
A spokesman for An Garda Síochána declined to comment on Mr O’Brien’s claim, stating that it would be inappropriate to comment on matters discussed by a third party.
The garda to receive the highest amount in overtime in 2015, at €62,996, was based in the Dublin Metropolitan Region.
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