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Garda Commissioner has earmarked a €23 million reduction in Dublin policing

Drew Harris is looking to reduce the overspend in the Dublin region.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris has earmarked a €23 million reduction in spending for the Dublin region as he told his chiefs across the country to keep their budgets in check for the year, TheJournal.ie has learned. 

At a meeting with chief superintendents earlier this month in Templemore, Tipperary, Harris outlined to his senior officers how they were to achieve the reduction. 

The Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) traditionally receives a significant chunk of the Garda budget due to the amount of crime in its districts. It has previously had to adjust its spending to come in within its budget. 

A number of officers from the region have also been placed on duty in other areas, such as Drogheda, as well as other regions where criminality is increasing. As a result, and to continue to operate its service effectively in the capital, there is an overspend on overtime and other cost-inducing factors. 

That overspend has reduced in the last two years, a security source said, and the DMR is expected to reduce its overspend this year also.

The current overtime budget for the region remained at €95 million for the year. The main Garda budget this year stands at €1.882 billion, an increase of €122 million on the 2019 allocation.

“The DMR is always over budget. It’s to do with the amount of crime in the area. The Commissioner was saying this, not as a reprimand to the DMR, but to everyone, that coming in on budget was important.

“There’s always a better chance of getting more in the following budget if the region comes in within its targets,” the source told TheJournal.ie. 

Claims from within garda circles that the cost-cutting measures were to be abandoned as a result of the murder of Keane Mulready-Woods proved unfounded and without substance. 

The Mulready-Woods investigation is being conducted mainly out of Drogheda Garda Station. However, Dublin gardaí are also involved in evidence and intelligence gathering due to the north Dublin criminal connection to the active warring gangs in the Louth region.

The Garda Press Office was contacted for comment in relation to the cut.

Initially, a spokesman informed us of the current budget within the force. He said: “The Garda Budget for 2020 is €1.882 billion. This is an increase of €122 million (7%) on the 2019 allocation.

“The annual Garda overtime budget for 2020 is €95m, the same as 2019.

“Following a review of devolved overtime budgets in 2019 across the Garda Organisation, the current devolved overtime budgets for the DMR for 2020 has increased by 7% compared to the 2019 allocation.”

Asked to clarify specifically about the meeting held by Commissioner Harris and the proposed €23 million cut, TheJournal.ie received a spokesman added: “The Garda Commissioner has repeatedly stressed the need for An Garda Síochána to stay within the budget provided.

“As well as the annual overtime budgets allocated to regions for operational policing, a separate overtime budget is overseen by the Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, for specific operations, particularly in relation to organised crime.” 

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