Minister defends vetting exclusions
MINISTER FOR Social Protection Joan Burton has defended the exclusion of nannies and babysitters from legislation that vets people working with children and vulnerable adults.
Ms Burton said private babysitting arrangements, private tuition and other private arrangements were exempt from the vetting requirements in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill.
The Bill regulates and controls the manner in which records of criminal convictions and “soft information” are used.
The Bill also enshrines in law the Garda vetting of people working with children and vulnerable adults, which to date has operated on a voluntary basis.
Fianna Fáil called for nannies and childminders to be included in the legislation, because up to 75,000 children cared for in their own homes would be left in an unregulated sector.
But during the ongoing debate on the legislation introduced by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, Ms Burton said the exemption was necessary.
There is also an exemption for people assisting at sports or community events on an occasional basis.
Ms Burton said “this exemption is necessary to focus the vetting requirements on people working with children or vulnerable adults on an ongoing basis, where such people have time to be with the children, perhaps over a prolonged period and on a number of occasions”.
She added: “In any case, people who help out at an occasional or annual community or sports event typically do so in full public view.”
It was “neither feasible nor desirable to vet every parent assisting at every school, sports or community activity nationwide.
But Fianna Fáil spokesman Billy Kelleher reiterated his party’s concern that the legislation was not sufficiently broad to deal with childminding, “which we regard as a deficiency in the legislation”.