The Government has given details of plans for a new system to compensate gardaí who are injured while carrying out their duties.
The Garda Síochána (Compensation) Bill 2021 will bring garda compensation claims within the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) process.
The Government says this will lead to a quicker resolution of claims for gardaí, and lower legal and administrative costs for the State.
Currently, gardaí who sustain injuries maliciously inflicted upon them can apply for an authorisation from the Department of Justice to seek compensation in the High Court in accordance with the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941 and 1945.
“The current scheme, whereby all cases must go to the High Court, is liable to delays and high legal costs, and lacks facilities to settle claims in an efficient manner,” said Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
Under the new proposals, responsibility for matters relating to garda compensation is devolved from the minister to the Garda Commissioner.
The State Claims Agency will manage claims on behalf of the Garda Commissioner once they are authorised.
PIAB will assess damages in these cases under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 by using the Personal Injuries Guidelines, which come into effect tomorrow (Saturday, 24 April).
The courts will not be involved in garda compensation claims in the first instance. Work on the scheme is due to begin before the end of this year.
The Department of Justice says it can take up to seven years for cases to be concluded under the current arrangements, while there are also significant backlogs on the High Court compensation lists.