Justice sector to see eight per cent budget increase next year

Charlie Flanagan

Yesterday’s budget announcement has revealed the justice sector will benefit from an eight per cent increase in funding in 2019.

Over €2.57 billion in current expenditure has been allocated to the justice sector, an increase of €139 million on 2018.

The total gross expenditure figure includes €1.8 billion for An Garda Síochána, €359 million for prisons and €138 million for the courts.

It also includes €525 million for the Department of Justice and Equality, €6.8 million for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and €3.4 million for the Policing Authority.

The increase of funding will provide for a €12 million boost in the criminal legal aid budget to total €61.3 million, which the Government said would relieve “demand-led budgetary pressures”.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the €6.8 million boost for the Courts Service would help it implement key ICT and reform projects.

He said: “I am pleased that the Courts Service will be able to utilise at least €2 million of the additional funding for recruitment of staff including those with the skills to enable the Courts Service to successfully implement a number of key ICT and reform projects in 2019. These include projects such as e-licencing, e-probate and expanded use of courtroom technology.

“The successful implementation of these and other similar projects has the capacity to reduce or more effectively deploy staffing resources currently engaged in heavily paper based processes ensuring a more efficient service for all stakeholders.”

The minister added: “The increased funding for the Justice sector in Budget 2019 reflects its importance in the day to day lives of Irish people and the Government’s commitment to justice and equality. This is a diverse sector with many challenges and the funding provided for 2019 will provide the tools to address many of those challenges in a responsible and sustainable way.”