411. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the record of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow who was convicted of an offence but subsequently cleared of this alleged offence cannot be cleared and that person's good name restored. [13295/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Garda vetting is currently provided by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) to registered organisations in response to a written request where the employment involves substantial unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults.
As part of the vetting process, the person concerned, in an application for vetting dated 6th September 2012, gave their written authorisation to An Garda Síochána to furnish a statement that there are no convictions recorded against him in the State or elsewhere or a statement of any convictions recorded against him as the case may be or a statement of all prosecutions, successful or unsuccessful, pending or completed in the State or elsewhere as the case may be to the registered organisation concerned. A report issued by the Garda Central Vetting Unit indicated a conviction for assault. This report was later amended to indicate that the conviction had been successfully appealed.
There is no legislation to delete or erase records in respect of prosecutions or court outcomes. All such records are retained by An Garda Síochána. Therefore, while it is noted from the details supplied that the person concerned successfully appealed a conviction of assault, the conviction and subsequent outcome of his appeal would continue to be recorded. However, an Administrative Filter for Garda Vetting Disclosures was introduced with effect from 31st March 2014. In line with that procedure a decision to disclose or not disclose non-conviction data is now made on the basis of an assessment of the relevance and / or the proportionality of disclosing the information in the context of the position of employment in question.
It should be noted that the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) has no input into any decision made in any specific organisation. When such disclosures concern information relating to a prosecution, it is the responsibility of the organisation in question to use the information provided appropriately, fairly and only as one factor in an overall recruitment decision. Decisions on the suitability for the recruitment/engagement of the person concerned rest at all times with the recruiting organisation.