Home > Seanad Éireann debate. Order of business [Staff regulation].

[Oireachtas] Seanad Éireann debate. Order of business [Staff regulation]. (29 Sep 2021)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/seanad...

Senator Mary Seery Kearney: We have a very proud tradition in this country of people volunteering, supporting, helping and setting up support organisations. Throughout Covid we experienced a lot of that activity at community level. 

As recent events in the media suggest, and I will not refer to a specific case but from my own experience from working in criminal law, there are organisations that set up voluntarily to assist in drug rehabilitation. These organisations may be faith-based and may assist young people who seek to rehabilitate themselves and we have heard about recent cases. One issue in this regard pertains to an exception under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act whereby anything that is on a loose or casual relationship basis does not require the people involved in such work to be Garda vetted. I appreciate that the Minister for Justice has conducted over a number of months a comprehensive and thorough review of the Garda vetting system. I have fed into the review on other issues. I have written to the Minister that we need to address the definition of what is a vulnerable person because it is too narrow in the Act. I also mentioned that we need to address the definition of what sort of activity requires the oversight of Garda vetting. Otherwise, there is a risk that we assume people are vulnerable and caught within that definition but are not and are open to the possibility of being exploited for a variety of reasons. I mean not merely alleged sexual abuse or otherwise but for a variety of other types of exploitation. I know of one organisation that offered an alleged drug rehabilitation course to young people who were recovering from drug addiction yet within a couple of days had them collecting money on the streets for the organisation. There is a whole array of organisations that we assume to be all right yet they are not. I call for a debate in this House to be arranged on voluntary oversight and our definitions, and understanding, of same.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
29 September 2021

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