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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 165 - 171
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Court Orders
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Public Order Offences

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 165 - 171

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 165. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plan to tackle the waiting list in Garda vetting, which is currently at 16 weeks, and is unnecessarily delaying the time to process employment checks and is preventing persons from taking up employment in vital industries such as home care; the reason Garda checks are not transferable for employees between different companies operating in the same sector; the reason a new Garda check must be completed upon entering a new employment, regardless of the date of the previous check; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28186/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately 14 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. 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.

A vetting disclosure is made in response to a written request and with the permission of the person who is the subject of that request. Garda vetting disclosures are issued to specified organisations registered with GCVU for that purpose in respect of a particular post or employment. The Unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012. The disclosure is made to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued. Each time a new vetting application is received, a full vetting check is conducted to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. The non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the certificate protects against the risk of fraud or forgery and is a guarantee of the integrity of the vetting service. It also affords the registered organisation the facility to assess suitability based on the most up to date information available on the applicant.

I remain in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner as to how best the service can continue to be delivered and improved upon, while at all times protecting the integrity of the process. Clearly, the protection of children and vulnerable adults is the primary objective of the Garda Central Vetting Unit and this must remain the case. The possibility of introducing an e-vetting system has been assessed and the Garda authorities are now in the process of developing a system which will enable vetting applications to be submitted electronically through a secure web service. In addition, the system will facilitate the checking and monitoring of applications. The relevant work is being pursued on a priority basis and it will be completed as quickly as possible.

The Garda Commissioner has informed me that there are currently 1 Superintendent, 2 Sergeants and approximately 113 civilian personnel assigned to the Garda Central Vetting Unit. This civilian complement includes 23 staff recently transferred from the Department of Agriculture who are undergoing the required training course. A further 9 personnel were allocated to the GCVU on 13th May 2013 and an additional 6 took up positions on the 31st May 2013. When these staff have been fully trained on the vetting process I expect there will be a positive effect on vetting times. My Department is also examining the scope for the redeployment of additional personnel from within the public service to the Unit.

Court Orders

 166. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of reports under section 47 of the Family Law Act 1995 that have been ordered in the District Court.  [28190/13]

 167. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of reports under section 47 of the Family Law Act 1995 completed in the District Court and paid for, wholly or partially, by the Legal Aid Board.  [28191/13]

 168. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of reports under section 47 of the Family Law Act 1995 completed in the District Court by Barnardos.  [28192/13]

 169. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the total cost to the State of all reports under section 47 of the Family Law Act 1995 completed in the District Court by Barnardos.  [28193/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 to 169, inclusive, together.

It should be noted that section 47 of the 1995 Family Law Act does not provide for the provision of reports in the District Court. Reports on the welfare of children in proceedings before the District Court are more usually provided under section 20 of the 1991 Child Care Act which provides that the court may direct the HSE to undertake an investigation of the child's circumstances. As the Deputy knows, the Legal Aid Board is a statutory body which is independent in its operation. Nevertheless, I have made enquiries of the Board and I am informed that the Board may fund reports for clients, where appropriate, in certain cases. Although such expenditure is recorded on each case file, it is not feasible to retrieve the information in the form required by the Deputy's question.

Departmental Reports

 170. Deputy Anthony Lawlor Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when he will publish in full Chapter 20 of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28326/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can inform the Deputy that the publication of the relevant sections of the report referred to is subject to directions of the High Court under section 38 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 and that these proceedings were yesterday adjourned until 3 July. Accordingly, I am not free at present to publish the Chapter in question. I can assure the Deputy that I am, of course, anxious to see the Chapter in question published as quickly as possible, subject to the requirements of the legislation.

Public Order Offences

 171. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will request a report from the Garda Commissioner regarding riots (details supplied) in County Dublin; the number of persons arrested; the amount of alcohol seized; and the number of juveniles who came to the Garda Síochána's attention. [28336/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.


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