Garda Compensation Claims

If you are a member of An Garda Síochána and have sustained an injury during the course of your duties, you may be entitled to compensation. Two groups of individuals are eligible to apply for compensation under the Garda Acts:

  1. Members of An Garda Síochána who sustained personal injuries (not causing death) maliciously inflicted upon them in the performance of their duties or acting in their general capacity as a member when off duty or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Síochána. Please note trainee Gardaí who have not completed phase IV of their training are not eligible under the Acts.
     
  2. Dependents of deceased members who were fatally injured while on duty or while acting in their general capacity as a member or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Síochána. Section 3(1) of the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Act 1941 states that the following dependants may be awarded compensation: the widow, children, step-children, parents, siblings, half brothers or sisters, grandparents of the deceased member or adopted children under the age of 21 years who were supported, maintained and educated wholly or partially by the deceased person.

A claim for compensation must be submitted to the Minister for Justice within three months from the date of your injury. This time limit can be extended in very limited circumstances.

The Minister is guided by previous judgements issued in the High Court, in particular the McGee and Merrigan cases (further details below) when deciding whether an injury should be considered minor or non-minor in nature.

The Minister would be of the opinion that a minor injury was sustained if the member returned to their pre-incident health level or recovered completely within a period of three months with no adverse medical sequelae anticipated in the future. The Minister reaches this decision by considering the medical evidence submitted in support of the application including the Garda Chief Medical Officer's report and medical reports submitted by the applicant.

The Minister is advised by the Garda Commissioner whether the applicant sustained injuries while performing duties which involved special risk. Generally, members are detailed for similar duties on a regular basis and in the majority these duties pass without any incident occurring. Similar incidents could arise on any day or night, when members are on routine patrol and public order disturbances occur, resulting in rioting or affrays. No special risk is considered to be attached to such incidents.

What is the McGee Judgement?

On 19 April, 1996, Justice Carney issued a written judgement regarding an application for compensation before him in the High Court. The member sustained a blow to the nose causing a nose bleed with associated bruising which completely cleared within two weeks. Justice Carney stated inter alia that the Act was designed in the first instance to compensate the dependants of members of the Gardaí who had died from injuries inflicted in the course of their duties; secondly, the Act provides for compensation for members on whom personal injuries not causing death had been inflicted and was of the opinion from the wording of the 1941 Act that the minimum level of injury required to attract the benefit of the compensation code was considerably above that of a nose bleed and some associated bruising and discomfort.

What is the Merrigan Judgement?

On 28 January, 1998 Justice Geoghegan issued his judgement regarding judicial review proceedings brought against the Minister for Justice's decision to refuse an authorisation certificate. In his judgement, Justice Geoghegan stated inter alia that the Minister should only refuse an application if ‘there has been a complete recovery within a matter of weeks with no medically adverse sequelae’. In addition he stated that the Minister has to ‘consider the medical reports from both sides and is not entitled to form an opinion that the injuries were of a minor character if the opposite view would be reasonably open on the medical evidence furnished by the Applicant’.