Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
An Garda Síochána
286. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if cautions given by gardaí to those found in possession of small quantities of cannabis can impact on Garda vetting they may need in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56619/21]
The Deputy will be aware that Garda vetting is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána. Neither I, as Minister, nor my Department have any role in the processing of individual vetting applications.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that when a person is vetted for a role that is within the definition of ‘relevant work or activities’ as outlined in the National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Acts, it is normal practice as part of the Garda vetting procedure to assess whether a vetting disclosure shall include particulars of the criminal record (if any) relating to the person and a statement of the specified information (if any) relating to the person, or a statement that there is no criminal record or specified information in relation to the person.
I am informed that a criminal record in relation to a person means a record of the person’s convictions, whether within or outside the state for any criminal offence, together with any ancillary or consequential orders made pursuant to the convictions concerned, or a record of any prosecutions pending against the person whether within or outside the state for any criminal offences or both.
I am advised that Adult Cautions issued by An Garda Síochána do not fall within the definition of Criminal Record outlined. This being the case, Adult Cautions given by Gardaí to those found in possession of small quantities of cannabis are not considered for inclusion in vetting disclosures as criminal records.
It is important to note that an Adult Caution for offences under Section 3 (simple possession) of the Misuse of Drugs Act - relating to the possession of cannabis and cannabis resin only - can only be considered in respect of an offence committed on or after the 14 December 2020 and cannot be applied retrospectively.
Whether or not the possession of any individual cannabis product or derivative, in any specific case, warrants the issue of an Adult Caution is at the discretion of the individual member of An Garda Síochána concerned, however the final decision to issue a caution under the scheme rests with the relevant Inspector or Superintendent. These individual decisions and cases are operational matter for An Garda Síochána, and as Minister I have no role in these matters.