New vetting legislation will leave schools without teachers, says TUI

Youth organisations and social work could also be affected by changes

Patricia McLaughlin and Joanne Irwin of the Co Donegal TUI branch at the union’s  congress in Galway yesterday. Photograph: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Patricia McLaughlin and Joanne Irwin of the Co Donegal TUI branch at the union’s congress in Galway yesterday. Photograph: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 20:50


Schools will experience long delays in appointing new teachers as a result of new national vetting legislation, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland has claimed.

TUI general secretary John MacGabhann, said at the union’s annual conference yesterday that from the date of the commencement of the new National Vetting Bureau, which has not yet been fixed, a new appointee to a school will be required to have vetting clearance through that body.


Clearance
“Clearance obtained up to now through the Garda Central Vetting Unit will not suffice,” he said. “As nobody at that point in time will have been vetted by the new bureau, it will not be possible for schools to make appointments.”

Schools which ignore the new legislative requirements under section 12 of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 will be legally liable if they employ a person to work with children who is then the subject of a complaint.

The Teaching Council, a statutory body with responsibility for teacher registration and which is also authorised to request Garda vetting for teachers for the purposes of registration of a teacher and for employment in a school, said it was engaged in ongoing communications with the Department of Education.

A Garda spokesman said the legislation’s commencement date had not yet been specified.


Statement
In a statement last night, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said teachers in schools who had already been vetted would not require vetting in respect of that existing employment under the new plan.

“However, although there are about 40,000 teachers who have been vetted, there are also approximately 42,000 teachers who were employed by schools before the Children First Guidelines were implemented, and these 42,000 teachers have never been vetted. These teachers will require vetting retrospectively, in accordance with the provisions of section 21 of the Act.

“This section allows the Minister to prescribe a period within which organisations employing persons not previously vetted must submit an application for a vetting disclosure in respect of those persons. “Pending completion of this vetting process, the persons will continue to be employed,” he said.