Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (443)

Clare Daly

Question:

443. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to alter the vetting legislation which requires the disclosure of court proceedings even when a person has been acquitted. [30094/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 does not require the disclosure of court proceedings where a person has been acquitted. Information which is automatically disclosed under the Act relates only to a person's criminal record which is defined in section 2 as

"(a) a record of the person's convictions, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offences, together with any ancillary or consequential orders made pursuant to the convictions concerned, or

(b) a record of any prosecutions pending against the person, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offence, or both;".

It is clear from this definition that information concerning an acquittal cannot be automatically disclosed under the Act. However, information other than criminal records as defined above may be disclosed were it to fall within the definition of specified information in the Act. This is information arising on foot of a Garda investigation of an offence or pursuant to any other function of the Garda Síochána or information giving rise to a concern concerning a particular individual which is received by the Vetting Bureau from one of the organisations listed in Schedule 2 to the Act.

In order to be disclosed the information in question must give rise to a bona fide concern that a person, who is the subject of the vetting application, may harm or put at risk a child or vulnerable person. However, the disclosure of such information is subject to a strict assessment by the Chief Bureau Officer. As part of this assessment the vetting subject is notified in advance of the information concerned and is given the opportunity to make a written submission in relation to that information. In addition, any subsequent decision to disclose the information is open to external appeal.