71. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the significant delays in the processing of applications for persons who require Garda vetting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11935/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that there is no delay in the processing of applications for persons who require Garda vetting.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for vetting applications is four weeks. However, in some individual cases additional enquiries may be necessary and this may result in processing times in excess of the average.
The primary purpose of the Garda employment vetting service is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Accordingly, the vetting process demands rigorous procedures to safeguard its integrity and to maintain the highest level of confidence by the public and organisations availing of the service. Any vetting process will take a certain minimum amount of time to complete and, taking into account the importance of measures to protect children and vulnerable adults while providing an effective and efficient service, the current processing period is not unreasonable.
The Deputy may also wish to know that An Garda Síochána launched an 'e-vetting' system on 29 April 2016 which will facilitate the processing of applications in an on-line format, thus removing the current time-consuming process of manual applications. E-vetting will further streamline the vetting process and contribute to sustaining reduced processing times for vetting applications. The e-vetting system is designed to be compatible with the requirements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and, in this regard, was launched in tandem with the commencement of the Acts.