I understand that the two year issue involved in this case relates to Garda Vetting procedures. FÁS operates the Garda vetting process in line with Irish law, Garda Policy and procedure and FÁS policy and procedures. The overriding principle applied is child safety first.
The FÁS Garda Vetting Policy and Guidelines (2009) that are currently in place state the following: Garda Vetting applies to adults, i.e. 18 years or older who as part of their respective programme will have substantive unsupervised access to children and/ or vulnerable adults.
Individuals who lived outside the Island of Ireland for 2 or more continuous years within the last 5 years are not eligible for relevant programmes. This restriction also applies to Irish nationals living outside the Island of Ireland for 2 or more continuous years within the last 5 years.
I am informed that The FÁS Garda Vetting Policy and Guidelines are currently undergoing a general review and will be aligned to meet the requirements of the recently enacted National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012. The purpose of this Act is to provide a legislative basis for the vetting of persons who seek positions of employment relating to children or vulnerable persons. It is expected that these new guidelines will be put in place later in the year.