Michael Lowry raising the issue in the Dáil Screengrab

Minister denies JobBridge interns are replacing staff at Garda Vetting Unit

10 staff are being let go by the Garda Vetting Unit just weeks before Jobsbridge interns start there – but the Minister for Justice says they’re not replacements.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter has denied that JobBridge interns will replace staff who are to be let go at the Garda Vetting Unit.

Ten temporary staff are to be let go from the unit before Christmas – just weeks before up to 16 Jobsbridge interns are due to start work there.

An opposition TD has said that the workers  ”feel they have been replaced by a cheaper alternative”.

However Alan Shatter has “utterly rejected” the suggestion that the interns will replace the workers.

The issue was raised in the Dáil this afternoon by independent TD Michael Lowry, who said he has been “inundated” with calls from the 10 temporary clerical employees who are being let go before Christmas.

The Tipperary North TD said that it was highly questionable that trained staff were being let go while inexperienced people were being taken on.

Many of the staff had been working in the Unit for months “or even years in some cases,” the TD said.

Lowry noted that the average waiting time for garda vetting is between 4 and 5 weeks – down from a waiting time of 12 weeks at this time last year – and suggested that the workers were being penalised for their efficiency.

However the Minister for Justice rejected the suggestion that the Jobsbridge interns are replacing the clerical workers, saying that there was “no question” of people being displaced:

“These appointments were temporary and they were always understood to be temporary”.

Any suggestion that these placements are being offered to fill vacancies left by the staff whose contracts are expiring is utterly rejected.

Shatter said that the internships in the Garda Vetting Unit would enhance the prospects of the interns of security employment in the future.

The Garda Vetting Unit provides vetting for employees who would have substantial and unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults.

It is expected to deal with over 300,00 applications in total for vetting this year.

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