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Cancellation of vetting services highlights need for all-Ireland approach to child protection services

19 January, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has asked the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell if he has been given a reason by the British authorities for their decision to cancel the service formerly provided to An Garda Síochána of vetting British or Six County residents who have applied to work with children in this State. Sinn Féin’s Six Counties spokesperson on children Sue Ramsey said the decision highlights the urgent need for an all-Ireland approach to child protection services.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “News of this decision has come as a shock to all those who work with children and to those who work in the child protection services.

“There is a lot of confusion surrounding this decision; no reason has been given for the withdrawal of this vital service and nobody has any idea what steps are being taken to replace this service or to seek a reversal of the decision.

“I have put a written question to Justice Minister Michael McDowell seeking answers to all of these questions and will continue to seek the re-establishment of these services in the very near future.

“This decision highlights the need for Garda vetting to be made available to cover all adults working with substantial access to children including the voluntary sector. In practice only health service executive employees are currently covered.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children in the Six Counties Sue Ramsey said, “The cancellation of these vital vetting services is a major setback to the child protection services in this country.

“This is a worrying situation for everybody throughout this country. It effectively means that someone who abuses a child on one side of the border can, after serving his or her sentence, move to the other side of the border and apply for a job working with children with no chance of being found out. 

“This highlights the urgent need for an all-Ireland approach to child protection services.” ENDS

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