Four Gardai last year earned more than €1,000 each per week in overtime payments as the overall Garda overtime bill increased by €14.6 million to €112.5 million -or more than €2 million per week for 2021.
According to figures released by the Gardai in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, four members of the force - three sergeants and one rank and file member- last year each received overtime payments of over €52,000 - or in excess of €1,000 per week on average.
The figures show that the top overtime earning Garda, a Sergeant, last year received overtime payments of €61,090.
The second-highest earning overtime member, a rank and file member, received €54,667 in overtime followed by a Sergeant who received €54,154 and another Sergeant who received €53,085.
In total, five Gardai received overtime payments in excess of €50,000 last year compared to three in that overtime earning bracket in 2020.
The members’ overtime was boosted by the Garda effort in enforcing Covid-19 travel restrictions and the ongoing battle against gangland crime.
Overall, the Garda overtime bill last year increased by 15 per cent from €97.85 million to €112.5 million.
North Dublin divisions
The detailed breakdown shows that €17 million was spent on two north Dublin Garda divisions alone as Gardai continued their successful operation in containing the Kinahan-Hutch feud that has been based primarily in north inner city Dublin.
The figures show the spend in the Dublin North division was the highest in the country at €8.53 million and this was followed closely by a spend of €8.47 million in the Dublin North Central division.
The ongoing Garda initiative was assisted by a number of Garda units and the overtime bill for 'National Units’ and Garda HQ came to €22.62m for 2021 - a spend of €2.6 million more than the overtime spend of €20 million on the National Units and Garda HQ in 2020.
Gardai have dedicated a lot of resources in tackling the murderous gang feud violence in Drogheda and the overtime spend for Co Louth at €3.5 million was the highest outside the major urban centres.
The overtime spend for Co Louth was higher than the Garda overtime spend of €3 million for Galway and €2.59 million for Limerick.
The overtime spend has helped tackle the murder rate with gangland murders dropping dramatically in recent years, falling from 10 in 2019 to two in 2020 and just one in 2021.
A statement attached to the FOI response states that the nature of Garda work means that in some cases Gardai are required to respond at short notice to immediate policing demands.
It adds: “Accordingly, there will always be a need for a certain level of overtime to allow Garda flexibility when responding to circumstances that require additional resources for specific operations.”
The statement adds: “These additional resources will have to be over and above those available from Gardai on rostered duty thus ensuring the continuation of normal policing duties unabated.