Protecting communities and supporting victims at centre of Justice Budget 2022

 

12 October, 2021

The Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD has today welcomed the significant commitment by the Government to protecting our communities and supporting victims through a substantially increased allocation for the Justice Sector in Budget 2022.

Minister Humphreys, along with Ministers of State James Browne and Hildegarde Naughton, welcomed the additional funding of €145 million – representing an increase of over 5% on the allocation for 2021 and bringing the total funding for the Justice Sector in 2022 to €3.153 billion.

It will also support the ongoing reforms outlined by Minister Helen McEntee in Justice Plan 2021 and further reforms being developed for Justice Plan 2022.

 

Minister Humphreys said:

“Protecting communities and supporting victims is at the core of what we do in the Department of Justice.

“Every community has a right to be safe and to feel safe. As Minister for Justice I have a very strong focus, demonstrated by the additional funding provided in this Budget, on keeping our communities safe and preventing crime in all its forms; by diverting young people from involvement with organised crime gangs, preventing cybercrime, tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence and supporting victims of crime.”

“Across the sector, we have substantially increased investment in supports for people and communities impacted by crime, and also  improved the broad range of services we offer to the public - including by accelerating the digitisation of these services.

“And as we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána, the recruitment of 800 Gardaí and 400 Garda staff means we are on track to meet the Government’s target of 15,000 sworn members of An Garda Síochána and 4,000 Garda staff.”

 

 

Justice Budget 2022 will fund:

 

Working with Minister McGrath, Minister Humphreys and Minister Helen McEntee have established the new Community Safety Innovation Fund, with an initial outlay of €2m, to use the proceeds of crime to support investment in community safety projects.

The fund is expected to grow in the coming years. Three pilot Community Safety Partnerships have been established in Longford, Waterford and Dublin’s north inner city. 

Minister Humphreys said:

“The establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau 25 years ago was a landmark moment in the fight against organised crime. The CAB, and other State agencies, have had huge success in seizing the proceeds of crime from the criminals and gangs who seek to spread misery in our communities.

“It is fitting that we mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the CAB with the establishment of the Community Safety Innovation Fund, which will reflect the success of the CAB by providing additional funding for projects which will increase community safety.

“The CAB itself will also receive additional funding to help it continue its absolutely vital work in tackling organised crime.”

James Browne, TD, Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration warmly welcomed the additional budget funding for An Garda Síochána recruitment as well as Youth Justice programmes and the funding of additional resources to support the work of the International Protection Office and the Programme for Government commitment to an immigration Scheme to Regularise the Long term Undocumented.

Minister Browne said:

“It is vitally important to communities the length and breadth of the country that we continue to invest in our Gardaí so I very much welcome the funding to allow for an additional 800 Gardaí next year.  The increase of €6.7m brings the funding available in 2022 to support the Youth Justice Strategy to over €21 million.  This is crucial to delivering practical early interventions for children and young people.  As we know from the evidence, this is critical to preventing the exploitation of children by criminal groups.

I also welcome the increase in funding for staffing of our immigration services to implement the recommendations in the Catherine Day Report, and to establish a scheme to regularise the undocumented, both of which are key commitments in the Programme for Government.”

Minister Browne also acknowledged the increased provision of €500,000 for set up costs for the Gambling Regulatory Authority bringing the total allocation to €700,000 in 2022.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton highlighted the additional investment to support victims and to combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence, along with the increased investment in healthcare in our prisons:

“The additional funding of over €5m for victim supports and to tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence reflects the fact that tackling these crimes and supporting victims are a priority for this Government.

 

“This will give us an overall fund of €13 million to help tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence, including an extra €1 million to improve An Garda Síochána’s Divisional Protective Services Units.

 

“The DPSUs are now in every Garda division in the country and deliver a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of sexual crime, child abuse and domestic abuse.

 

“The Budget funding will also support our new plan to tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence, which will be published in the coming weeks, and the ongoing reforms in ‘Supporting a Victim’s Journey’, our plan to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases.

 

“I am also pleased that it has been possible to provide an additional €2.4m for healthcare in our prisons which includes over €1m to allow the Irish Prison Service to recruit more psychologists and specialist mental health nurses to support the substantial number of vulnerable people in our prison system.

 

“This funding for IPS is also vital to support the detailed work needed for the new Parole Board system which is now operational.”

 

 

Garda Vote

The total gross allocation for the Garda vote in 2022 is €2.062 billion. The funding includes provision for the following:

Minister Humphreys said:

“While COVID caused the temporary closure of the Garda training college at Templemore, I am delighted that the recruitment of trainees has resumed during 2021, and the funding announced today will allow us to regain ground lost during Covid and recruit 800 Gardaí in 2022. 

“Moving uniformed Gardaí from administrative roles will continue next year thus allowing Gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties, supported by the recruitment of 400 additional Garda staff.

“Since 2017, 820 Gardaí have been freed up for core policing duties because of the recruitment of staff in An Garda Síochána, and an extra 400 Garda staff will ensure this continues.

“In addition, the expansion of the Garda Mountain Bike Unit will support visible policing in our towns and cities.

“I am glad to be able to confirm that the additional funding announced today will also support investment in ICT, mobile devices and training supports to help all Gardaí do their jobs effectively.”

 

 

 

Justice Vote

The Justice Vote increases by over €42 million bringing the total gross allocation to €499 million.

ICT Investment – Modernisation of Service Delivery

An additional €10 million has been provided to significantly increase digital services in the Department. This will include developing a fully digital, customer centric immigration service. The investment will also increase efficiencies and provide data-informed insights to support policy development.  

Legal Aid Board 

An increased provision of over €3.3 million in 2022 will bring total funding to €47.9million. This will enable the Board to meet the increasing demand for its services including the provision of legal advice and legal aid service to victims of sexual offences.

Forensic Science Ireland

Forensic Science Ireland plays a key role in the criminal justice sector and additional funding of €4.1 million has been secured to support FSI including transition costs associated with its move to a new laboratory in Backweston in 2022. Capital funding of over €25 million is also being made available to complete this much needed facility in 2022. This is in addition to the capital budget of almost €55 million in 2021.

Other areas in receipt of additional funding are as follows:

The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Justice will shortly bring a proposal to government to waive all fees associated with Special Exemption Orders for the remainder of 2021. This measure will build on previous supports, including the waiver of court fees and excise duties for vintners which happened in 2020 and 2021. The review of Special of Special Exemption Orders will continue and will feed into the development of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2021.

 

Minister Humphreys said:

“Investment in the digitisation of services across the justice sector is a real priority for my Department.  As well as security investment in An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Irish Prison Service, we are investing significantly in the Department’s systems, and in particular developing a fully digital, customer-centric immigration service.

We have further underlined our commitment to an efficient immigration service by supporting this ICT investment with increased staffing levels to increase the speed of processing applications for international protection, and to introduce a regularisation scheme for long-term undocumented in Ireland.”

 

Prisons Vote

The Prisons Vote will have a total budget of €401.3 million in 2022.

Courts Vote

The total gross allocation of €164 million for the Courts Vote includes an allocation of a further €1 million for the new Courts Modernisation Programme which builds on €8 million already provided in Estimates 2021 and retained in 2022. 

In addition the increased capital allocation for the Courts Vote including in relation to ICT will also support the Modernisation Programme.

Minister Humphreys said:  

“I am delighted that it has been possible to provide further additional funding to support the ongoing Courts Modernisation Programme which is focused on designing court services around the user, leveraging digital technology to streamline services and processes and ultimately delivering a courts system which is more accessible to all.

“The pandemic has brought about many changes which have transformed so many aspects of our lives. The Courts have implemented many changes, such as increased use of video hearings, and this Budget funding will support the Courts Service as it makes many of these changes permanent, as well as supporting significant reforms in relation to Family Courts and the important work to streamline the administration of civil law.”

 

Data Protection Commission

The Data Protection Commission vote has received an increased allocation of €4.1 million (21%) in respect of additional staffing (€3.2m) and non-payroll costs (€0.9m).

Following substantial increases in funding in recent years, this brings the total allocation for the Commission to €23 million in 2022 – a six-fold increase compared to 2015.

Minister Humphreys said:

“I am pleased to be in a position to further increase resources for the Data Protection Commission in Budget 2021, following increases over recent years.  2021 has also brought with it increasing demands on the DPC in their mission to safeguard data protection rights.

Recognising the expanding breadth of the Commission’s regulatory role and the increasing demands, I am making available an additional €4.1 million to the Commission in 2022 to enable the recruitment of additional specialist and technical staff and to address the increasing case load and complexity of cases being faced by the Commission”.  

 

Policing Authority

The Policing Authority has a gross allocation of €3.9 million in 2022.

 

 

Covid Measures

Minister Humphreys said:

“Although thankfully we are now removing restrictions, we must continue to fund our frontline services in the Justice Sector as we move to safely transition out of the Covid emergency.  It is for this reason that Government has set aside €20 million for the Sector in 2022 and this funding is important and very welcome”

 

 

 

ENDS

Note for Editors

Gross expenditure budgets for the 6 Votes in the Justice Vote Group total €3.153 billion and cover the following Votes:

An Garda Síochána (€2.062 billion), Prisons (€401 million), Courts Service (€164 million), Department of Justice (€499 million), Data Protection Commission (€23 million) and Policing Authority (€3.9 million).