Hamilton: €41.1m this year

The director of public prosecutions (DPP), James Hamilton, is dealing with a €3.5m reduction in funding this year, despite warning that his office would struggle to deal with the cuts implemented in 2008.

According to figures releas­ed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, €41.1m has been allocated to the DPP's office this year, compared to €44.5m in 2008.

The revelation has prompted strong criticism from Fine Gael, which claimed the funding cut didn't make sense in light of the introduction of new measures aimed at tackling gangland and other crime.

In an interview last October in which he referred to cuts in his budget, Hamilton said he would welcome any independent consultant being sent in to examine where further economies could be made.

He also warned some cases prosecuted in the district court may have to be handed back to gardaí for prosecution as a result of these cuts and said he had "no control over the number of files I get".

However, a spokesman for the government press office said he had been "informed by the DPP's office that it does not consider it has a backlog of cases at present and that, while resources are tight, work is being managed within acceptable timeframes".

But Fine Gael justice spokes­man Charlie Flanagan TD, who obtained the figures in response to a Dáil question, accused the government of "acting tough" by introducing legislation to combat gangland crime, including the controversial criminal justice bill.

"It strikes me that the government is on the one hand appearing to get tough on organised crime, while on the other hand cutting budgets to the DPP. It simply doesn't make sense."