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Spent Convictions and Garda Vetting

If an individual who is aged 18 or over was convicted of an offence covered under Section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016, they do not have to disclose the conviction if seven years has elapsed since the conviction (except in certain circumstances). The scope of the Act covers one conviction only and an individual with more than one conviction will not have any of their convictions treated as spent, unless multiple convictions arose as a result of a single incident or occurred at the same time. Sexual offence convictions, offences tried in the Central Criminal Court or offences that have resulted in a prison sentence of more than 12 months will not be treated as spent convictions.

This legislation now means that an applicant or employee is not obliged to disclose a spent conviction as covered under the Act and may not be prejudiced for doing so. However spent convictions must be disclosed in respect of a number of specified State bodies in the areas of financial regulation, law, security etc.

Individuals who will be working with children or vulnerable adults and where contact with and access to children and vulnerable adults is a regular and necessary part of their work must also disclose a spent conviction unless it was prosecuted in the District Court at least seven years previously and they were aged 18 or older when the offence was committed.

Additionally employers should note that whilst Garda vetting has been previously carried out by a large number of organisations and was a requirement under the "Children First" guidelines, the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 which came into effect on 29th April 2016 has put vetting on a statutory basis and it is now a mandatory requirement to vet individuals who work with children or vulnerable adults. This means that relevant organisations such as schools, hospitals, childcare services and health care service providers must ensure that vetting is carried out and included in their recruitment and selection policies and contracts of employment.

Employers must also ensure that current employees who fall within the scope of the vetting legislation are retrospectively vetted if this was not previously carried.

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