171. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to set out the average processing time for Garda Síochána clearance and vetting applications; the number of applications waiting to be processed at present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35456/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately four weeks from date of receipt and that there are currently approximately 28,000 vetting applications awaiting completion.
As the Deputy will appreciate, any vetting process will take a certain minimum amount of time to complete and, taking into account the need to protect children and vulnerable adults while providing an effective and efficient service, I do not think that this period is unreasonable.
In the interest of fairness, Garda vetting applications are processed in chronological order based on the date of receipt in the Garda Central Vetting Unit and all organisations registered for Garda vetting are aware of the processing time-frames and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.
Processing times can fluctuate depending on seasonal demands and volumes of applications received, and depending on whether further enquiries have to be conducted in respect of any individual application. These enquiries may be conducted for many reasons such as the verification of identity, updating incomplete records or establishing the outcomes of investigations or Court disposals. In such instances processing times may be significantly longer than the general average.