290. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21525/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that the primary purpose of the employment vetting carried out by the National Vetting Bureau is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. It is carried out by An Garda Síochána primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 and is, as I am sure you will agree, a very important task which must be done thoroughly and correctly. My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda vetting applications regarding the person referred to by the Deputy were received on 22 May and 10 December 2018 by the National Vetting Bureau.
At present, 80% of overall vetting applications are being processed by the Vetting Bureau in five working days. However, in a number of instances it is necessary to conduct further enquiries with external agencies. Enquiries with external agencies are conducted for a multiplicity of reasons such as verification of identity, updating of incomplete records and establishing other matters. In such instances processing times are significantly longer than the general average.
I am further informed that on processing the applications of the person referred to by the Deputy, it was established that it was necessary to conduct further enquiries. These enquiries are still ongoing and unfortunately it is not possible to issue a Garda vetting disclosure at this stage.
Any inconvenience arising from a delay is regretted, but I am sure you can fully appreciate, applications cannot be finalised at by the Vetting Bureau until all enquiries are concluded.