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Written Answers - Garda Vetting of Personnel

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 388.  Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the number of Garda vettings carried out in each of the years 2008 to 2011; the number of clearances that were granted; the number that were declined in each of these years; the number of instances in which persons who were previously granted Garda clearance in this period submitted a secondary application; the overall cost of processing and dealing with each individual application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6789/12]

 389.  Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his views on the Garda vetting process required of those applying to work with children and vulnerable adults with regard to the administrative inefficiencies that result from a person having to be vetted every time they transfer agencies in which they work, regardless of the brevity of the time period between the initial vetting and transferring organisations, which effectively creates a duplication of the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6791/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 388 and 389 together.

There has been a substantial increase in the volume of vetting applications received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) over recent years. The numbers of applications processed by the GCVU for the years 2008 to 2011 are as follows:

2008 2009 2010 2011
218,404 246,194 291,938 315,100

The GCVU does not grant or decline to grant clearances. The position is that a registered organisation submits a vetting application on behalf of a prospective employee or volunteer. The application is signed by the latter. In response the GCVU issues a vetting certificate to the organisation. It is for the organisation alone to make the final decision about taking on the person as an employee or volunteer. The GCVU merely responds to the vetting request.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that details of the number of times an individual has had a vetting request made on his/her behalf is not readily available, since each application is considered new. In the circumstances, it would take an inordinate amount of Garda resources and time to provide information on the number of secondary applications. Furthermore, figures related to the cost of processing each application are not readily available and again it would take an inordinate amount of Garda resources and time to provide this information.

For the sake of clarity I would point out that Garda vetting certificates are issued to specified registered organisations in respect of a particular post or employment in response to a written request and with the permission of the person who is the subject of that request. Decisions on the suitability for the recruitment/engagement of the person concerned rest at all times with the recruiting organisation. All organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

The Garda Vetting certificate is non-transferable. It is important to emphasise that it is a disclosure to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued. Furthermore, non-transferability protects against the risk of fraud or forgery of such certificates and is a guarantee of the integrity of the vetting system.

Since I became Minister I have taken a particular interest in improving the Garda vetting process. In that regard a number of measures to ensure improvements in the time it takes for the processing of vetting applications were put in place. I remain very conscious of the need to keep the time required to obtain a vetting to the minimum possible.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that at present, there are approximately 8,000 vetting applications in the course of being processed and that the average processing time at the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) now is 2 weeks approximately. This is a substantial improvement on this time last year when there were 55,000 cases on hand and processing took 11 weeks.

This processing time can, nevertheless, be affected by seasonal fluctuations or the necessity to seek further information on particular applications which may result in the processing time exceeding the present average of 2 weeks.


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