341. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of restoring the rent allowance to members of An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7163/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will be aware that following a review of all allowances in the public service during 2011 and 2012, the Government decided on 18 September 2012 that rent allowance for all new public servants including Gardaí, Prison Officers and Fire Officers should be abolished. The rent allowance costs €4,600 per officer per annum (inclusive of Employer's PRSI).
The Garda Commissioner who is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote has informed me that the annual cost to the Garda Vote, of reinstating the rent allowance for all recently attested Garda members would amount to €1.8 million. In addition, the annual costs of granting the rent allowance to existing student Gardaí upon attestation would be a further €1.4 million, giving a total for those recruited since recruitment recommenced in 2014 of €3.2 million. Obviously, that cost would increase by €4,600 for every Garda recruited into the future.