An Garda Síochána have been left €21 million short on their budget this year following an excessive overspend on the State visits by Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama.

 

Answering questions from Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary in the Dáil today, Justice Minister Alan Shatter confirmed that the visits cost the Gardaí €36 million. It was confirmed today that €15 million is covered by the supplementary estimates, leaving a further €21 million that is not yet accounted for.

 

Deputy Calleary has expressed concern about how €21 million will be found within An Garda Síochána to cover this overrun.

 

“Minister Shatter has pointed to the ‘efficiencies’ required within the Gardaí in order to meet its allocated budget. Efficiencies in this instance can only mean cutbacks,” said Deputy Calleary. “I am concerned that some Garda operations, like Operation Freeflow in Dublin, may have to be cancelled or curtailed to achieve these ‘efficiencies’.

 

 “The visits by Queen Elizabeth and President Obama to Ireland in May were important and historic occasions. The cost incurred by the Gardaí was far greater than expected at a total of €36 million. The Minister today confirmed that €15 million of this will be covered by the supplementary estimates. We now need to know how the remaining €21 million will be covered?

 

“I asked the Minister today to outline exactly what cuts have been made within An Garda Síochána and what further cuts will be required to fill the hole in their budget following these State visits.  He failed to provide any clarity on this, adding to the concerns about the future of Operation Freeflow and similar important operations.”