Protecting the Vulnerable – A need to establish the National Safeguarding Authority

28 May 2020


The Law Reform Commission’s Issues Paper on the protection of the vulnerable has come at a time in Irish society where like never before a national effort has been made to protect the vulnerable in society. The report sets out various different options for the protection of the vulnerable to include the establishment of the National Safeguarding Authority.

I have made a submission to the Law Reform Commission which you can read here in full. However, essentially my points to the Commission are:-

  • I fully support the introduction of the National Safeguarding Authority;
  • The National Safeguarding Authority should be provided adequate financial resources to conduct its work;
  • Much work is being conducted in Ireland to protect the vulnerable by the HSE, the Gardai, the Banking and Payments Federation and the Law Society but this work needs to be co-ordinated and harmonised by a statutory central authority;
  • A central authority can only do so much and much of protection of the vulnerable will remain to be done “on the ground” by existing bodies (the HSE, NGOs, Safeguarding Ireland, the Gardai etc) and these bodies need to be supported by a central authority;
  • I am in favour of a mandatory reporting regime for cases of suspected abuse and for a protected disclosure regime;
  • In the same way that a mature industry has developed with respect to preventing money laundering in the financial and legal sector, a similar culture needs to be developed with respect to protection of the vulnerable;
  • Financial service providers and solicitors should be obliged to have in place written policies and procedures to protect the vulnerable and having these in place should be a requirement of their authorisation.

The Issues Paper is timely and very welcome and the work of the Law Reform Commission is to be commended.

My submission can be read in full here.