Topical Issues Debate

 

The need to address the unacceptable delays in processing times for Garda vetting

- Deputy Paul Connaughton

 

Response by Minister of State Paudie Coffey on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D.

Check Against Delivery

3rd December, 2015

The Minister wishes to thank the Deputy for raising this matter as it provides an opportunity to inform the House that the current average processing time for Garda Vetting applications is in fact four weeks from date of receipt. There is not considered to be an unacceptable delay in the processing times for Garda Vetting.

 

As the Deputy will appreciate, any vetting process will take a certain minimum amount of time to complete and, taking into account the need to protect children and vulnerable adults while providing an effective and efficient service, this period is not unreasonable.

 

The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting to organisations registered with the Gardaí for this purpose and which employ persons in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or training capacity to positions where they would have substantial, unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

 

Garda vetting applications are processed in chronological order based on the date of receipt in the Garda Central Vetting Unit and all organisations registered for Garda vetting are aware of the processing time-frames and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

 

There are approximately 18,000 organisations in receipt of vetting services from the GCVU covering a wide range of health, educational, sporting and recreational sectors in Ireland. The Vetting Unit provides ongoing support and advice to the organisations in managing their vetting requirements.

 

To put some perspective on this matter. In 2014 the Garda Central Vetting Unit processed over 318,000 applications. 293,292 applications have been processed to date in 2015. The majority of these applications were dealt with within the average four week processing time referred to above.

 

Processing times can fluctuate depending on seasonal demands and volumes of applications received, and on occasion, further enquiries have to be conducted in respect of some applications. In such instances processing times may be longer than the general average. I am sure the Deputy will agree with me that given the primary objective of the vetting process, the necessity for thorough inquiry is understandable.

ENDS