Papal visit and Garda vetting procedures


A chara, – When Pope John Paul II visited Ireland back in 1979, I volunteered to help with the stewarding in Galway; it was a wonderful experience. Some 39 years on and the country will host another papal visit, and I thought I’d also volunteer my services during the event. One of the criteria listed for volunteers on the World Meeting of Families (WMF) website reads, “Must apply for Garda vetting as part of the application process.” I didn’t think that would be an issue as I was vetted in 2017 and given a National Bureau Vetting (NVB) number for children and vulnerable persons. When I informed the WMF that I already had Garda clearance and I would gladly give them my NVB reference number, it told me that I would have to be vetted again.

Surely, the Garda vetting procedure either works or it doesn’t work? If it works, then my records are in the Garda database and can be readily accessed and verified. If it doesn’t work (and I hear of teachers having to be vetted two and three times in the one year), then why do we proceed with a broken system? It saddens me that having given my life in the service of children and vulnerable adults, and having complied with the concomitant rules and regulations that go with such work, that I am not considered worthy enough to be allowed help out with some stewarding during the forthcoming papal visit. – Is mise,


Dublin 9.