- 20th November 2020
- Posted by: Siobhán Lafferty
- Category: Employment and Regulatory, Litigation
Garda Compensation – What you need to know
Given the nature of their roles, members of An Garda Síochána often find themselves in situations involving conflict resulting in physical injuries to that member. Such injuries can have long term consequences for Gardaí and their families. Occasionally such injuries result in death.
Who can apply?
Gardaí who sustain injuries in the performance of their duties can bring a claim for compensation arising from those injuries, as can dependents of deceased members of An Garda Síochána who were fatally injured. The Garda Síochána (Compensation) Act 1941 (as amended) governs claims in this area. The 1941 Act applies to:-
Maliciously inflicted fatal injuries or personal injuries sustained by a member of An Garda Síochána:-
- in the performance of his/her duties; or
- while exercising powers or acting in their general capacity as a member of the force when off duty or on leave; or
- while on duty or off duty or on leave or any other time because of anything previously done by him as a member of the force.
Strict time limits apply under 1941 Act. Applications for compensation must be submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (“the Minister”) within three months of the date the incident occurred. The Minister does have discretion to extend this time limit but good reason would need to be shown in order for such an extension to be considered so applications should be made without delay.
In the first instance, an application for compensation is made to the Minister. The Minister, having considered the application, shall either reject it or issue an authorisation to apply to the High Court for compensation.
If the application is in respect of the death of a person, the Minister will authorise the member’s dependent(s) to apply to the High Court for compensation.
If the application is in respect of personal injuries not causing death, the Minister will assess the nature of the injuries. If the injuries are of a minor character and sustained in the course of the performance of a duty not involving a special risk, the Minister shall refuse the application.
However, if the Minister is of the opinion that the injuries were sustained in the course of performing duties involving a special risk, the Minister may with the consent of the Minister for Finance, pay a nominal sum to the applicant.
In all other cases, the Minister shall authorise the applicant to apply to the High Court for compensation.
Such decisions will be based upon the specific merits of the case.
Who is compensation payable to?
In respect of personal injuries sustained, compensation may only be awarded to the person on whom the injuries were inflicted. In the case of fatal injuries, compensation may be awarded to family members of a deceased member of the force to include their widow, children or step-children, parents, siblings, grand-parents, adopted children under the age of 21 at the time of death.
What level of compensation can a member of An Garda Síochána or their dependent expect?
The level of compensation which may be ordered in a case will depend on a variety of factors:-
- the nature of the incident
- the extent of the initial injury
- time it takes the member to make a full recovery (if at all)
- any special damages
- any other losses
Our firm has considerable experience in acting in Garda compensation claims. If you require advice in this regard please contact Michael Hegarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or Siobhán Lafferty at email@example.com