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Varadkar tells Dáil that cost of garda overtime will be covered by next year's budget

Gardaí in Dublin had been told that “under no circumstances” is overtime to be incurred.

Updated 1pm

THE TAOISEACH LEO Varadkar has told the Dáil that the garda overtime bill for the month of December will be covered by next year’s budget.

However, due to a directive from Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy, an overtime ban will still be in place in Dublin until next Monday.

In response to a question from Fianna Fail’s Micheál Martin Varadkar told the Dáil that any funding for overtime in December will be taken out of the 2018 budget as wages are not paid until the new year.

“I would have hoped garda management would have been aware of that,” he said.

Martin’s question came in response to an email from Leahy which told Chief Superintendents in the Dublin region that as of yesterday, “under no circumstances” is overtime to be incurred.

Leahy’s letter says: “No other overtime is authorised and any operations intended on an overtime basis are hereby cancelled.

Officers were told: “The Garda Budget for 2017 has been exhausted. All other operations, events, searches, arrest etc for the remainder of 2017 will be performed by the working units.”

A statement from the gardaí said that the budget for 2018 starts next Monday and from that day overtime will then be available to regional, division and district officers for policing delivery within the overtime budget allocated to them.

“All officers will be reminded of the clear need for them to stay within allocated budgets,” it adds.

However, as Leahy’s email outlines, the overtime ban in Dublin will remain in place until the 2018 budget becomes available next Monday.

Any update on the Dublin situation would likely be outlined in another email from the Assistant Commissioner.

‘It’s disgraceful’

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, the President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) Ciaran O’Neill said that overtime being used to supplement numbers because there are insufficient numbers of gardaí servicing the State.

“Overtime is the cheapest form of policing and it has been used in the past to fill the numbers,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill called on Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to implement an immediate budget for An Garda Síochána to ensure that overtime isn’t cut.

With reporting by Christina Finn and Céimin Burke

Read: Gardaí in Dublin told overtime is cancelled because budget ‘has been exhausted’

More: Temperatures to continue to dip below freezing with widespread frost and icy patches

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