By Rebecca Black, PA
The Garda’s capital budget allocation is €60 million short, a senior official has told the Policing Authority.
Garda chief administrative officer Joseph Nugent said they are still mid-discussion, but said on the capital side there is “a substantial shortfall in terms of what we would have expected”.
“What our ask ideally would have been is probably going to fall about €60 million short of what we would have ideally liked on the capital front, and that’s assuming that the indicative allocation that we were told in the National Development Plan is actually delivered and we won’t know that until budget time, but that’s just to give one figure of concern,” he said.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris also expressed his concern over inflationary pressures, fuel and pay rises on funding.
“And also the desire to grow the organisation as well, a significant uplift in budget would be the overall aim… we have a number of concerns,” he said.
In terms of the capital funding expected shortfall, Mr Nugent said it limits the ability to deliver some of the reforms required, such as ICT projects.
Mr Harris described the projects as needed, including body worn cameras, the digital evidence process as well as the implications of moving from the Harcourt Square into new premises.
Mr Nugent said the force will struggle to stay within budget due to overtime, pressures on pensions and cost increases around fuel.
“We will do everything we can, but I think at this stage it is risky,” he added.
Earlier Mr Harris said his organisation is looking into findings in a study from the University of Limerick around Travellers and the justice system.
The report, published earlier this month, found that gardai have a reputation for stopping travellers.
Asked did the garda engage in racial profiling, Mr Harris responded: “I don’t believe we do undertake racial profiling, and I’m not in a position to accept that is an allegation for An Garda Síochána.”
Mr Harris also said the report was published with no opportunity for the Garda to respond beforehand.
“We have to do our own inquiry, racial profiling is a very serious allegation to level against An Garda Síochána, before I would accept that I would want to be certain of the reasons why I was accepting that allegation,” he said.
“We have already commenced work, we take it very seriously, and we will deal with it through our senior human rights committee.”