The Minister for Justice says an additional €200 million has been allocated to the justice sector for next year to recruit more gardaí and garda staff, to modernise the courts, complete the prison redevelopment programme and reform and upgrade digital infrastructure.

Up to 620 new gardaí and 500 garda staff are to be recruited next year with increased funding allocated to tackle domestic violence and sex crime.

There are currently 14,500 gardaí and the accelerated recruitment programme commits to bringing that number up to 15,000 by the end of 2021.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee also announced today that 70 more cars are to be provided to the gardaí immediately and a supplementary budget for this year, expected to be in the region of €30m, is being finalised.

An Garda Síochána is currently renting 210 cars as part of its Covid-19 community policing plan.

The Government also announced today that an additional €27m is to be allocated for Covid-19 related measures, over €18m of which is to be spent on PPE, cleaning and healthcare costs for the gardaí and the prisons.

The Prison Service is to receive an additional €15m to upgrade and modernise Limerick Prison and eliminate the practice of slopping out.

€8m has been allocated to modernise the courts, and an additional €4.4m to Forensic Science Ireland.

The Legal Aid Board and the Data Protection Commissioner are each to receive an extra €2m, while the Policing Authority is to receive an additional €350,000 for updated recruitment processes to senior ranks of An Garda Síochána.

The total justice sector allocation in the budget is €3bn.