The decision by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter TD, to redeploy an additional 25 staff to the Garda Central Vetting Unit will ensure that the processing of applications are progressed in a timely manner. For too long we have heard of delays in processing applications, which have caused delays in people taking up employment and in volunteering across the country. This decision by the Minister will reduce the delays, benefitting individuals and organisations alike.
Giving the Unit additional staff is an essential step in preparing for an expanded role of the National Vetting Bureau. One of the functions of this unit is the vetting of applications for those who work with children and vulnerable people. A crucial part of ensuring we have a system in place that protects the welfare of children and vulnerable adults is a properly resourced vetting system. These additional staff will ensure that the National Vetting Bureau has the resources it requires.
Last year, as chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, I launched a report on proposed legislation for the Children First guidelines. A cornerstone of these guidelines is delivering a uniform and consistent application of the national guidelines throughout the State, and ensuring that those who want to work with children and vulnerable adults are properly vetted.
As a society we need to foster a culture of understanding and compliance; vetting is an integral part of this approach. When the Committee launched its report, it called for a substantial investment in resources, including personnel. Today’s announcement by the Minister provides those much needed additional resources which will help in continuing to improve the protection our society provides to its most vulnerable members.