CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
8 February 2018
Statement on behalf of Charles Flanagan T.D. Minister for Justice and Equality
Difficulties being experienced with the Garda vetting system
On behalf of Minister Flanagan, I thank Deputy Deering for raising this issue.
As the House will be aware Garda vetting for employment purposes is carried out by An Garda Síochána primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.
In this regard, the primary focus of the Garda National Vetting Bureau is to seek to enhance the safety of children and vulnerable adults. This is, I am sure the House agrees, a very important task and it must be done thoroughly and correctly.
The processing system for vetting is working well at present. The Minister is informed by the Garda Authorities that the vast majority of vetting applications – in excess of 80 percent – are processed by the National Vetting Bureau in five working days or fewer. This timeframe represents a very significant improvement in turnaround times in recent years. In mid-2013, an application for Garda vetting took an average of 14 weeks.
This improvement has come about as a result of an unprecedented investment by the Government and the Garda Authorities in providing this service, including an increase of over 80 percent in staffing levels and the rollout in 2016 of the e-Vetting system. The on-line processing of applications has streamlined the vetting process enormously and the e-Vetting service is available to all registered organisations.
In certain circumstances processing times for a given application can be longer when, for example, additional enquiries may be necessary or there are errors in the application in an individual case. Delays can also occur in other aspects of the application process which are outside of the control of the Garda Authorities, for example, in the submission or return of applications by registered organisations.
I would emphasise that the vetting process demands rigorous procedures to safeguard its integrity and to maintain the highest level of confidence by the public and organisations availing of the service.