Denis Naughten TD has described the fact that eight years after the introduction of Garda vetting for teachers that 4 out of 10 teachers have yet to get a Garda clearance certificate as “totally unacceptable”.
“Parents bringing their children to school this morning understood that all teachers were Garda vetted in light of the fact that such vetting was introduced for teachers who have unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults in 2006,” stated Denis Naughten.
“What is even more bizarre is the fact that we still don’t have a date by which teachers will be vetted even though all teachers have to retrospectively be vetted as part of the Children First Guidelines.
“While there is no issue with the vast majority of teachers, it only takes one to slip through the net to destroy a young life – and that is one too many. There is also concern that an individual could use their position of authority to not only groom a child, but their parents as well.
“However, this should not come as a surprise because while many parents’ fear ‘stranger danger’ – the fear that someone could abduct and assault a vulnerable child – the fact is that the risks in many cases are far closer to home.
“The majority of sexual offences against children are not carried out by a stranger but rather by someone, outside the immediate family, who has already built up trust with a child or indeed in many cases with the whole family.
“Many parents this morning have relied on Garda vetting so that those who pose a risk will not have access to children, but this system is failing children and families throughout the country and needs to be overhauled,” added Denis Naughten.