Reform Intended for the Garda Compensation Scheme as High Court Hears Test Case
Currently members of An Garda Siochana who sustain personal injuries maliciously inflicted upon them during the performance of their duties or while acting in their capacity as a member when off duty or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Siochana can seek compensation for their injuries under the Garda Siochana Compensation Acts. In addition dependants of deceased members of An Garda Siochana who have been fatally injured in the above circumstances can also apply for compensation under the Acts.
An application for compensation must first be made within three months to the Department of Equality and Law Reform. Each member of An Garda Siochana will be aware of the statutory time limit as they are provided with details regarding the Scheme on becoming a member of An Garda Siochana.If the Department allows the application it issues a Certificate of Authorisation authorising the applicant to lodge proceedings with the High Court.The claim has to be filed with the High Court within two months from the date the Authorisation is communicated to the applicant.
New figures indicate that more than €30 million has been paid out in compensation and legal fees for injuries sustained by Gardai over the past two years.A significant number of cases relate to claims for psychological injuries sustained by Gardai over the risk of contracting a disease from high risk individuals such as drug users.Awards in the region of €25,000.00 and €30,000.00 have on occasion issued to Gardai who underwent tests for HIV or Hepatitis which later turned out to be negative.In response to the increase the High Court was recently due to hold a test case in relation to three incidents where Gardai are claiming compensation over the risk of exposure to disease.
There has been an acknowledgement that there is a need for reform of the system and the Department and the relevant Garda Associations have agreed to replace the current compensation Scheme with a Compensation Tribunal which it is envisaged will operate in a similar manner to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.The heads of Bills were recently drafted and further developments on this will arise in the future.
For Garda compensation applications and further information please contact Fiona Manning via telephone number: +353 (0)61 445571 or email: [email protected]