Child protection - No room for complacency in schools

It is completely unacceptable that a year after being announced by the Government, garda background checks are still not being carried out on workers in schools, community groups or the childcare sector.

Child protection is a vital area where every possible safeguard should be in place and any delays in doing so are indefensible.

Almost 12 months ago Minister for Children Brian Lenihan decided that the Garda Central Vetting Unit would be expanded, a decision emanating from a review prompted by the horrific murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley.

Yet, despite the importance attached to improving the scope of vetting by widening it, the extra staff necessary have not even been recruited.

Whatever other areas the Government may be negligent in delivering on promises, this is one fraught with hazards for vulnerable children for which delays could have dangerous consequences.

The National Parents Council (Primary) is absolutely right to insist that there should be no room for complacency in this matter, especially as the schools are due to re-open later this month.

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