546. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the waiting times for Garda vetting for voluntary organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25606/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the processing of vetting applications by the Garda National Vetting Bureau is an operational matter for the Garda Authorities and is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and other relevant law. My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.
I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the National Vetting Bureau works to ensure that the processing time for vetting applications is kept to the minimum necessary in order to ensure that the statutory obligation to receive a vetting disclosure prior to permitting any person to undertake relevant work or activities on behalf of an organisation can be facilitated without undue delay.
The current turnaround time for vetting applications submitted by organisations utilising the eVetting system is five working days for over 80% of vetting applications received.
In certain cases, it is necessary to conduct further enquiries within An Garda Síochána or with external agencies such as the Courts Service, Probation Service, Child and Family Agency, etc. These enquiries may be conducted for many reasons, such as verification of identity, updating of incomplete records or establishing the outcomes of investigations. In such instances processing times may be longer than the general average.
Across 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, the National Vetting Bureau placed an emphasis on supporting relevant organisations to meet statutory obligations with regard to retrospective vetting arrangements, the deadline for which was 30 April 2018. While this resulted in a short-term increase in the volume of vetting applications received in the first quarter of this year, which temporarily resulted in the turnaround time increasing in excess of the five-day timeline, additional resources were applied to address this additional demand enabling the National Vetting Bureau to return to the turnaround times within the five-day timeline. Question No. 547 answered with Question No. 491.