Belfast Telegraph

Spent convictions will not be shared with other EU countries – Justice Minister

Charlie Flanagan said he does not expect information to be shared with other European countries.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (PA)
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Information on a person’s spent convictions will not be shared with other European countries, the Justice Minister has said.

A spent conviction, also known as an expungement, is a conviction that does not have to be disclosed to potential employers during the Garda vetting process.

The Select Committee on Justice and Equality met on Wednesday to consider the Criminal Records (Exchange of Information) Bill 2019 with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

The Bill would enable Irish authorities to share information on people with criminal records with other European Union states.

I don't envision a situation where spent convictions could be the subject or matter of exchange. Charlie Flanagan

The committee heard people with spent convictions include those who have a criminal record for minor offences committed in their youth.

Currently, convictions can only become spent if they attracted a custodial sentence of less than a year or a non-custodial sentence of less than two years.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said convictions for minor offences can hold people back from accessing employment.

Ms Connolly said it needs to be ensured that spent convictions are not shared with other European countries.

In response, Mr Flanagan said he does not expect spent convictions to be shared with other EU states.

“I don’t envision a situation where spent convictions could be the subject or matter of exchange, having regard to their spent nature.

“In fact, we’re currently updating that as a Private Member’s Bill which is at Committee stage in the Seanad this evening, which will update the term of custodial sentence in order to bring about a greater number of convictions within the scope of what can be described as spent conviction,” he said.

“I would be of the view that in the event of a conviction being spent, that it is not one that would be the subject matter of exchange of criminal records,” he said.

PA

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