Garda vetting service delays impacting on the delivery of essential child services – Crowe
Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe has raised concerns about the length of time it is taking to Garda-vet adults working with children.
Deputy Crowe continued: "In September, 2004, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Children, Brian Lenihan, announced that the Garda’s vetting services would be extended to cover volunteers who work with children.
“It is of course vitally important that anyone working with children or young people is properly vetted but currently it is taking 3 months to process applicants and this is having a significant impact on a range of schemes.
“For example, volunteers working in After Hours School Schemes are being prevented from working with school children because of the backlog in the vetting process. It is also impacting on people working with vulnerable adults who are taking up to 6 months to be cleared which is affecting their livelihoods and their potential to get a job. I also know of crèches which are closed at present because of the wait for this Bill.
“When I questioned the Taoiseach on this matter he accepted there were problems with the vetting process and said the National Vetting Bureau Bill would be published by October.
“The unacceptable delay in publishing this Bill is continuing to cause chaos in the system and whilst I welcome the commitment to employ additional staff to clear the backlog it is only a drop in the ocean. As a consequence, people are going to lose their jobs. For example, I am aware of one person who worked with young people for years yet when he applied for a job outside of Dublin it took him 4 months to get vetted and the position went to someone else.
“In April, Justice Minister Alan Shatter vowed to tackle the logjam in applications for Garda vetting and his Department need to search for ways to speed up the process which is close to crisis point with around 60,000 people waiting approval.
“I understand that the Department of Finance recently sanctioned 10 temporary staff for the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) who are currently being recruited. This needs to happen without delay otherwise a range of groups who work with children will be badly impeded in delivering many essential services.”