103. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position in relation to Garda clearance to work with children of persons that were incarcerated in Northern Ireland in the pre-1994 period for offences related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and that have no criminal convictions otherwise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24129/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Vetting for the purpose of employment with children or vulnerable adults is carried out by the Garda National Vetting Bureau in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 and other relevant laws. The primary purpose of these vetting arrangements is to enhance protection for children and vulnerable adults. Neither I nor my Department has any role in the processing of such applications.
While the Garda National Vetting Bureau will make such enquiries within An Garda Síochána or with a Scheduled Organisation under the Acts as they deem necessary to establish whether there is any criminal record or specified information relating to a vetting applicant, the Vetting Bureau does not make decisions in respect of the suitability of an applicant for a position. This is, of course, the responsibility of the employer or other relevant organisation that is engaging a person to work with children or vulnerable adults.
What constitutes a criminal record and what constitutes specified information in relation to a person who is the subject of an application for a vetting disclosure is defined in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016. Furthermore, the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016 sets out the arrangements in law whereby certain past convictions may not be disclosed. This Act made a series of amendments to the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 in respect of the arrangements that must be followed for the disclosure or otherwise of past convictions in the context of the vetting process.
These provisions in the law are applied by the National Vetting Bureau in the context of processing all vetting applications, including those in respect of persons who may have previous convictions for offences related to the troubles in Northern Ireland.