Garda vetting delays is unacceptable states Cllr. Leahy

Cllr. Leahy has received overwhelming support from Offaly County Council to write to Minster Shatter calling on him to revamp the Garda Vetting process as the current process is causing major delays for community groups, businesses and individual.

The establishment of the Garda Central Vetting Unit can only be described as a positive development in this Country, we all except that a screening process must be in place when people work in agencies/organisations that involve children or vulnerable people.

In 2012 the Garda Central Vetting Unit processed application for around 20,000 organisations which involved some 350,000 individual applications. The current system is taking anywhere between 10 – 18 weeks to process an application due to the sheer volume, if you use the example of  an individual involved in multiple organisations, that person has to go through the same process for each agency/organisations. So instead of processing one application per person per year thatperson’s application is assessed for each agency/organisation, which results in the same application been processed 2 or more times. The whole process has become unduly time consuming and this is attributed to the duplication of applications.

In the age of technology and the use of PPS no.s, the current system needs to be revamped and have a direct link to the court service, this in turn would allow the Garda Central Vetting Unit to inform the associated agencies/organisations of any conviction or judgements relevant to an individual that is on the system.  Vital information should be obtained by a touch of a button and not a 10-18 week delay which is hindering people from taking up positions of employment or on a voluntary capacity.

I welcome Ministers Shatter intervention in redeploying 25 staff from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Justice office to deal with the on-going back log, but the Minister has an ample opportunity to revamp the system that will make it fit for purpose.  The Minister is planning to expand the unit under new legislation which will be called “The National Vetting Bureau “. The Minister needs to move with the times and have a system that has one application per person per year that can is traced through the use of PPS No.’s no matter how many agencies or organisation the person is involved in and for the Vetting Unit to be forwarded any conviction or judgment made by the courts, instead of the Garda Central Vetting Unit chasing the information.