Written answers

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Department of Health and Children

Garda Vetting of Personnel

2:00 pm

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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Question 42: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her view on enacting legislation to facilitate the use of soft information in vetting individuals working with children; the practical implications of this change; if this will have resource implications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4404/11]

Photo of Barry AndrewsBarry Andrews (Minister of State with special responsibility for Children and Young People, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, is drafting the Heads for the National Vetting Bureau Bill. Formal consultations have taken place with the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and colleagues in other Government Departments. Once complete the Heads and General Scheme will be submitted to Government for approval to proceed to the drafting of the legislation.

This area has also been considered by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment for Children and the findings of the Committee are being considered in the preparation of the legislation.

The National Vetting Bureau Bill will make provision for a statutory basis for the vetting of applicants for employment and employees.The vetting process will provide for the identification of both hard and 'soft/ relevant information', in particular, information relating to the endangerment, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or risk thereof, to children and vulnerable adults.

A number of complex issues, including rights of citizens under the Constitution and human rights generally, require to be addressed in the preparation of the legislation The use of 'soft/relevant information' for vetting purposes is inherently complex and great care must be taken in the drafting of the Heads and General Scheme to ensure that due account is taken of the complex constitutional, legal and ethical issues which arise.

The establishment of a new National Vetting Bureau would give rise to a need for additional resources. The quantification of this resource will take place in the context of the legislative process, in particular as part of the required Regulatory Impact Analysis.

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