Fine Gael South Tipperary TD and member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence, and Equality, Tom Hayes, has called for an online vetting system to be included as part of the soon to be established National Vetting Bureau. Deputy Hayes says a similar system is already being used by the GAA.
“The National Vetting Bureau will replace the Garda Vetting Unit and will oversee the mandatory vetting of all employees and volunteers who come in regular contact with children or vulnerable adults. I wholeheartedly welcome this legislation, which will be an important step on the road to proper child protection in this country. However, I think the legislation could be further boosted through the inclusion of an online element.
“We can expect an increase in the number of individuals that will require vetting under this legislation. As a result, we must ensure that applications are processed in an efficient and timely fashion. That’s where an online vetting service would come in. It would allow the Bureau to exchange forms with organisations electronically, saving time and money. Such a system is already being used by the Teaching Council, the GAA, and many other groups.
“The system used by the GAA also allows for a level of flexibility. It means a children’s officer for a particular club can visit coaches, who may need to be vetted, and access information securely on a laptop. The vetting document cannot be closed until all boxes are filled in and, once completed, it is immediately sent to the GAA vetting section.
“I believe a similar system could be adopted by the new Vetting Bureau. The only roadblock to such a proposal would be the issue with electronic signature in Irish law. I’ll be looking to address this matter as the legislation moves through committee stage.”