I thank the Ceann Comhairle for selecting this matter. Garda vetting has been an issue for a number of years. We all recognise the need for it for those who work with children and vulnerable adults.
I am bringing this up today, however, because of the length of time it takes to get clearance. In February, 25 new people joined the vetting unit and last November the wait was down to five weeks. I was contacted by someone yesterday who has been waiting for eight weeks and was told he would have to wait another six weeks. I met Deputy Connaughton and he told me of a person who had to give up a FÁS position because his clearance did not come through.
Last week the co-ordinator of a sports coaching programme in Mayo called "Goal to Work" saw 12 unemployed people become qualified coaches in GAA, soccer and rugby. The course was delivered in Castlebar, Ballina and Ballyhaunis. Each of the coaches had to coach the different games and had to secure Garda clearance for each of the different disciplines. Instead of 24 people getting their clearance, 72 clearances had to be issued, even though these were the same people and, in many cases, they were coaching the same children.
I remember a term from way back, GUBU: grotesque, unbelievable, unprecedented and something else.
This is crazy, but it gets worse. When that course finished, one of those to whom I refer was subsequently offered a position as an activities co-ordinator at another venue. The person had been vetted on three separate occasions already. He is the person who is waiting eight weeks and has been told that he must wait another six weeks because he got a community employment scheme as a sports co-ordinator and he must be vetted again. The duplication of the vetting is something that must be dealt with. I will leave it at that.