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Woman settles case against State over her garda vetting

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Aishling Walsh, Carlow leaving the High Court

Aishling Walsh, Carlow leaving the High Court

Aishling Walsh, Carlow leaving the High Court

A WOMAN who brought a High Court challenge against the garda vetting procedure has settled her action.

Aishling Walsh, of Tintean Risigh, Old Dublin Road, Carlow, claimed that she was unable to get a job as a care assistant as a result of the contents of a garda vetting report she was required to undergo.

It contained details of two non-convictions, which resulted in her not being offered the job. Ms Walsh, who has honours and master's degrees in social studies, had hoped to work in the care sector in Carlow.

She claimed that there was no justification for the inclusion of the two incidents in the vetting report.

Her case was against the Garda Commissioner, Ireland and the Attorney General.

Ms Walsh sought declarations that the current vetting procedure failed to uphold her constitutional rights as well as her rights to earn a living and her right to a good name.

The defendants opposed the action, saying the process was a proportional measure in order to safeguard vulnerable people.

Yesterday, following discussions between the parties, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan was informed that the matter had been settled and could be struck out. The terms of the agreement were confidential, the judge was told.

LARCENY

The court heard earlier that a vetting report given by the gardai in 2011 referred to two matters. The first related to a larceny charge which Ms Walsh admitted in 1994.

Her counsel, Michael Counihan, said the matter was in connection to a stolen jacket she was found wearing which had been given to her by a former boyfriend.

Ms Walsh who was a teenager at the time, admitted the charge and was given the Probation Act. She did not receive a conviction.

The second matter related to an incident in 2006 when Ms Walsh was the subject of verbal abuse from a person with psychiatric problems.

She made a formal complaint about that person to the gardai but a counter complaint was also received.

The complaints came before the District Court three times and the case was struck out when the other person failed to turn up on the third occasion.

Counsel said that neither matter resulted in a conviction, yet when they were included on the vetting report his client was turned down for the position she had applied for.

However, counsel said he did not blame the gardai for the inclusion of the two matters on the vetting report.

No directions were given by the Department of Justice to the gardai in relation to what should and what should not be included, he added.

Irish Independent