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Jobseeker in legal fight on garda vetting

A MAN has brought a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the garda vetting procedure.

Trevor Webster claims he failed to get a job as a firefighter because a vetting report included details of minor offences -- including alleged criminal damage and theft -- that he was charged with, but never convicted of.

In 2009, Mr Webster applied to Kilkenny Co Council for the position of permanent firefighter, at Urlingford, Co Kilkenny.

Following an interview process he was ranked first of all the applicants.

However, after a garda vetting report disclosed five 'non-convictions' he was refused the post. The Council justified its decision, he claims, by saying that it could not trust him.

Mr Webster said the allegations were made by people in dispute with his father over land ownership.

In High Court proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the State and the Attorney General, Mr Webster from the Island, Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, claims there was no justification for the inclusion of these details on the vetting report.


He is seeking declarations including that the current garda vetting procedure breaches his constitutional rights, and is incompatible with the State's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The State denies the claims.

At the High Court, Peter Ward, for the State, said the action should be struck out on grounds including that the case amounts to an abuse of process.

Counsel said that arising out of the same set of circumstances Mr Webster brought, and settled, High Court proceedings against both his clients and the Council. It was agreed that an independent panel would review his application. However the council's original decision was upheld.

Mr Webster's current claim was an attempt to relitigate matters already settled, counsel added.

Ross Maguire, for Mr Webster, said he faces being shut out of any job that requires garda vetting if details of non-convictions are furnished to third parties.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy reserved judgment.