Garda vetting

What is Garda vetting?

Anyone who works or volunteers with children and vulnerable adults must go through Garda vetting. This is a process to check whether you have a criminal record, or if there is any specified reason why you might pose a threat to vulnerable people.

Garda vetting is conducted by the Garda Siochána National Vetting Bureau, who will send a vetting disclosure to the organisation.

Currently, when someone is Garda vetted, they do not have to be re-vetted unless they:

  • Move job
  • Change position within a sporting or community organisation

The rules for Garda vetting are set out in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016.

You can read frequently asked questions about Garda vetting on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Changes to Garda vetting process in 2021

The Government is reviewing the Garda vetting system to strengthen the process, in particular around re-vetting requirements. There will be a public consultation as part of this work. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Police Certificate

Garda vetting is not the same as getting a Police Certificate, which is provided by the Gardaí to people in Ireland who need them for a range of reasons. These reasons can include starting a business abroad or getting a visa for another country. Find more information in our page on Police Certificates.

National Vetting Bureau

The National Vetting Bureau is part of the Garda Síochána. It deals with requests from employers who need information on certain prospective (soon-to-be) employees, volunteers and other workers.

The Bureau only carries out vetting for relevant organisations that are registered with it. A relevant organisation is an organisation that employs or allows a person to carry out work or activities with children or vulnerable adults, or whose work involves access to children and vulnerable adults.

Vetting is not done for individuals on a personal basis – see ‘Requesting personal data’ below.

You can also read about the vetting procedure on the Garda vetting website.

Other types of vetting

The National Vetting Bureau also does vetting related to Non-Act applications (that is vetting required by other legislation).

For example, people applying to work for certain bodies, such as the Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and some government departments have to disclose any spent convictions.

Who needs to be Garda vetted?

You must be Garda vetted if your work or activity at a relevant organisation involves access to children or vulnerable adults. This includes staff, contractors, agency workers (pdf), volunteers, and anyone on a student placement or apprenticeship in:

  • Childcare services
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable people
  • Treatment, therapy or counselling services for children or vulnerable people
  • Services that provide leisure, sporting or physical activities to children or vulnerable people
  • Services that promote religious beliefs

Self-employed people

Garda vetting is not carried out for people on a personal basis. If you are self-employed, you can only submit a vetting application through a relevant organisation, as defined in Section 2 of the Act.

Private security employees

Under the Private Security Services Act 2004 private security employees (for example, bouncers and nightclub security staff) must be Garda vetted.

What information is in my vetting disclosure?

When you are vetted by the National Vetting Bureau, your criminal record is disclosed (revealed) to the authorised liaison person in the registered organisation (the company, body or club you want to work for).

The liaison person will get a vetting disclosure about you. This disclosure will include:

  • Details of any convictions
  • Details of pending prosecutions
  • A statement of specified information (any information, other than criminal convictions, that leads to a genuine belief you pose a threat to children or vulnerable people) or a statement that there is no criminal record or specified information relating to you

Minor offences over 7 years old

Convictions for certain minor offences in the District Court that are over 7 years old are not included in the vetting disclosure. This is set out under Section 14A of the Acts.

However, this does not apply to offences that are specified in Schedule 3 of the Acts and in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016.

Read more about spent convictions.

Retention of vetting information

Personal data must be destroyed when the purpose for which it was sought has expired. Organisations should delete Garda vetting disclosures a year after they are received, except in exceptional circumstances. The reference number and date of a disclosure can be kept on file and this can be checked with An Garda Síochána, should future queries arise.

Read the guidance note (pdf) for organisations on data protection considerations when vetting prospective employees on the data protection website.

How to apply for Garda vetting

If you are applying for a position that requires you to have Garda vetting, you will be sent a Garda vetting application form. You can apply online using e-Vetting, or you can apply using a paper form.

If you are under 18, you must submit a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

e-Vetting

To use e-Vetting you must be over 16. You must have a valid email address and complete the “proof of identity” process.

The e-Vetting procedure:

  1. You will be sent a vetting invitation form by the registered organisation where you are applying for a position. You must complete the form and return it to the organisation with proof of your identity.
  2. The organisation will validate your proof of identity and send you an email with a link to the online vetting application form.
  3. You complete the vetting application form online and submit it to the organisation.
  4. The organisation reviews your vetting application form and submits it to the National Vetting Bureau.
  5. The National Vetting Bureau processes the application and sends a vetting disclosure to the organisation.
  6. The organisation reviews the disclosure and will send you a copy of it.

You can track your e-Vetting application.

Details of the procedure for registering an organisation are on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Disputes and appeals

If you do not agree with the details in the vetting disclosure you can dispute this with the organisation who is conducting the vetting. Write to the liaison person in the organisation and include a summary of your reasons for the dispute. The liaison person will then send the complete application file to the National Vetting Bureau to be re-checked.

You can appeal the decision of the Chief Officer of the National Vetting Bureau in relation to disclosure of specified information using the independent appeals process. You should make your appeal within 14 days of the decision.

Registering your organisation with the National Vetting Bureau

Any organisation that requires Garda vetting of individuals must register with the National Vetting Bureau – see ‘Contact information’ below.

The organisation must also appoint a liaison person to apply for and get vetting disclosures. You must register your liaison person with the Bureau in writing.

Read the procedure for registering an organisation on the National Vetting Bureau website.

How long does Garda vetting last?

Currently, when someone is Garda vetted, they do not have to be re-vetted unless they:

  • Move job
  • Change position within a sporting or community organisation

Section 20 of the Acts relates to the re-vetting of employees (and other workers) who were previously vetted for their current position, after a certain length of time (known as a specified period). However, this specified period has not yet come into law. The Government is currently considering introducing mandatory re-vetting every 3 years.

Requesting personal data

Garda vetting is not carried out for individuals on a personal basis. However, you have the right to access the personal data held about you by the Garda Siochána. Read more about how to access your personal data.

A response to your data protection access request is not the same as Garda vetting, a Police Certificate, a Garda Reference or proof of no convictions.

Contact information

National Vetting Bureau

Racecourse Road
Thurles
Tipperary
E41 RD60
Ireland

Tel: +353 504 27300
Locall: 1890 488 488

Page edited: 19 May 2021