Ó Bhéal Policies
(updated January 2023)

Mission Statement

Ó Bhéal is a non-for-profit arts organisation, incorporated since November 2007. It promotes contemporary poetry and the advancement of contemporary poets, poetry & poetry audiences by way of regular public events, competitions and publications. Ó Bhéal also fosters young people’s voices, nurtures a lively appreciation of poetry-films and hosts a winter poetry festival to feature as wide a spectrum of poetry genres as possible, including translations & collaboration across art forms.

1. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
2. Copyright Protections
3. Health & Safety
4. What We Pay & Guest Poet Liaison
5. Cash Handling
6. Steering Committee
7. New Partnerships
8. Irish Language
9. Compère Guidelines
10. Return Guests
11. Child Safeguarding Policy
12. Volunteers
13. Artistic Policy
14. Public Engagement
15. Marketing and PR
16. Fundraising and Sponsorship
17. Data Protection Policy & General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
18. Safe Driving for Work
19. Outreach
20. Garda Vetting Policy

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

(Since April 2007. Last updated September 2020.)

Ó Bhéal subscribes to the Arts Council of Ireland’s Equality, Human Rights & Diversity Policy & Strategy. In order to promote and sustain an ethos of inclusivity and diversity with respect to the programming of guest poets and artists, Ó Bhéal endeavours to maintain a programme of events which presents poets at all levels of experience, all manner of genre, cultural background, age and gender. It aims to present a range of established and non-established poets from as wide a range of genre and locale as possible. While most will have published collections, this is not a prerequisite. Some are invited based solely on performance history. Typically, about 60-70% Irish and 30-40% overseas poets are invited to read. Each year Ó Bhéal works with the deaf / hard of hearing communities in Cork through sign language (ISL) interpretation, to provide access to contemporary poets.

Ó Bhéal has hosted/presented poets from almost every county in Ireland as well as from numerous countries worldwide England, Scotland, Wales, France, Iceland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Latvia, India, Greece, Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Romania, Argentina, Syria, Iraq, South Africa and Poland. Where possible Ó Bhéal accommodates overseas poets who happen to be visiting Ireland, or who request an invitation to read. One of Ó Bhéal’s programming partners, Arc Publications who are based in the UK, frequently sends poets from a variety of countries to the Winter Warmer festival. Cultural diversity remains vibrant and there is a great deal of overseas presence, usually with any number of poets / attendees from the USA, UK, from across Europe and beyond. It’s not atypical to hear three or four languages spoken on the open-mic. Ó Bhéal’s audiences are also gender-balanced and multi-generational. All events are free to attend, with an option to donate.


Copyright Protections

(Since April 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

With respect to copyright protections, the copyright on all poetry and any artistic material handled and/or contained by Ó Bhéal and its website, blog, social media platforms, print publications, or otherwise, whether video, audio or text, remains with each respective author as indicated. Copies of any poem require the prior consent of the respective poet. Website Copyright © Ó Bhéal Limited 2007-2018. Ó Bhéal’s print publications contain the following disclaimers: “Copyright on the work contained herein remains with each respective author. Copies of each poem require the prior consent of the respective poet, and copies of this collection require the prior consent of this publisher. ‘le gach bó a buinín agus le gach leabhar a chóip’ (to each cow its calf and to every book its copy) – Diarmuid, 6th C. High King.”


Health & Safety

(Since April 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

As an employer and facilitator of many volunteers, Ó Bhéal has the ultimate responsibility for its workplace(s), events and for a direct influence on health and safety in the organisation. This health and safety policy outlines Ó Bhéal’s commitment to ensuring that the workplace is as safe and healthy as reasonably practicable and that all relevant health and safety legislation is complied with.

Ó Bhéal is committed to working in accordance with the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts of 2005 and 2010, plus other associated legislation and the requirements of this Safety Statement. Ó Bhéal is committed to fulfilling its statutory obligations to manage and co-ordinate workplace safety and health and ensuring, so as far as is reasonably practicable, that:

• Work activities are managed so as to ensure the safety, health and welfare of Ó Bhéal’s employees and volunteers
• The safety statement is maintained and updated, risk assessments are carried out and reviewed as required and brought to the attention of all employees and volunteers at least annually
• Identified protective and preventive measures are implemented and maintained
• Improper conduct likely to put an employee’s or volunteer’s safety and health at risk, is prevented
• A safe place of work is provided, which is adequately designed and maintained
• A safe means of access and egress is provided
• Safe plant and equipment are provided
• Safe systems of work are provided
• Risks to health from any article or substance are prevented
• Appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision are provided
• Where hazards cannot be eliminated, adequate arrangements, including the provision of suitable protective clothing and equipment, will be put in place to reduce the risk of injury
• Emergency plans are prepared and revised
• Welfare facilities are provided and adequately maintained
• Competent personnel to advise and assist in securing the safety, health and welfare of Ó Bhéal’s employees and volunteers are employed when required.

Incident Procedures

In the event of any incidents or accidents occuring at an Ó Bhéal event or in the Ó Bhéal workplace, once reasonable measures have been taken to ensure health and safety prioritites and concerns have been addressed, any complaints or queries should be addressed to the Director at info@obheal.ie, or via post to Ó Bhéal, c/o Civic Trust House, 50 Pope’s Quay, Cork.


What We Pay & Guest Poet Liaison

(Since June 2007. Last updated January 2023.)

Ó Bhéal aims to ensure fair remuneration for all the artists it hosts, whether online or in-person, in line with the Arts Council’s Paying The Artist policy. As of January 2023, featured guest poets at the Winter Warmer festival receive a minimum of 250 euros (for 20-minute readings). Some featured poets (or occasionally musicians, actors, dancers, etc) can receive more than this, as they may be funded by specific organisations. Once-off, targeted philanthropic sponsorships can provide anything from 500 to 1,500 euros for a specific poet, eg for Alice Oswald, or Imtiaz Dharker, etc. About a third to half of the festival guests are accommodated in a quality hotel for two nights.

Our regular monthly reading series (January to December) currently pays 150 euros each to two poets per event (also 20-minute readings). Irish language guest poets receive 250 euros each for these events, as provided by Foras na Gaeilge. Once a year we can cover a minimum of 500 euros for a special end-of-year event, depending on available sponsorship. Again around a third to a half of our monthly featured guests are accommodated in a quality B&B.

Ó Bhéal undertakes to communicate timeously and succinctly with all of its guest poets and artists and to meet and welcome them upon arrival in Cork city whenever possible, usually on the day of their reading/performance. When required, guests are collected from the airport or bus/train station and taken for coffee and/or orientation, before being dropped to their pre-booked accommodations. They are also greeted later at the venue and introduced to the evening’s compère. Guests’ poetry collections or CDs are displayed and promoted throughout the event. If needed, guests are taken back to their accommodations by taxi. Guests are usually made aware of the event proceedings months in advance. Guests are often driven to locations of interest around the city or county.


Cash Handling

(Since November 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

While the majority of Ó Bhéal’s funding is transferred directly into its bank account by the relevant funding authorities (Arts Council, etc), cash donations are collected throughout the year, tallied and recorded on an ongoing basis, then exchanged for notes which are either used for reading fees or are deposited into the same account mentioned above. All guest poets and artists are paid in cash, which is usually withdrawn from Ó Bhéal’s bank account just prior to each event. Guests are then asked to sign a receipt book when receiving their fees. Excepting reading fees, all Ó Bhéal expenses are paid by debit card. The Winter Warmer festival team manages a book table on behalf of guest poets (non-profit), co-ordinating volunteers each year to record all sales and collect cash for the guests. All sales cash is paid to the relevant guest poet or artist at the end of their respective event, or festival.


Steering Committee

(Since November 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

Ó Bhéal maintains an active steering committee / board of 12 individuals who give their time on a voluntary basis, being mostly based in Cork city, as well as three honorary board members who live away from the city. All members are writers (mostly poets), each of whom works professionally in any of a variety of related, or unrelated fields. Effort is made to ensure gender balance and diversity of influence and skillsets among these volunteers. The Ó Bhéal board meets four times per year on average. Each member can influence any number of executive decision making processes, in agreement with the director, and can take on various responsibilities throughout the year to aid the programme of events and activities.


New Partnerships

(Since November 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

In each case where one reads Ó Bhéal in association with X presents …, a partnership has been formed to promote particular poets, occasions or subject matter. Oftentimes, once-off or particular annual events are sponsored by specific funding bodies, eg, The Heritage Council for Heritage Week, Cruinniu na Cásca for Easter Monday, Colmcille for Scots Gallic poets, Foras na Gaeilge for Irish language poets, Icelandic Literature Center, etc, etc. The Community Foundation for Ireland sponsored centenary celebration events and Ó Bhéal is partnered with UCC every February to help advance and promote new voices from their creative writing programmes. Other specific events are held as part of festivals or occasions, eg, Cork Harbour Festival, First Fortnight Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, Culture Night, as well as Anthology promotions. Care is taken to ensure that the ethos and contribution within each partnership is mutually beneficial and compatible.


Irish Language

(Since November 2007. Last updated December 2017.)

Ó Bhéal promotes the Irish language wherever possible, having hosted an average of eight Irish language readings per year since 2007. There has been a progressive increase in the casual usage of Irish at the event. Irish language poems are often spoken at the open-mic. Foras na Gaeilge funded eight x Irish language readings per year at Ó Bhéal from 2008 to 2015 and in 2017. The Community Foundation for Ireland supported eight Irish language readings in 2016. While there was no funding awarded for Irish language poetry events in 2018, Ó Bhéal remains committed to promoting Irish language poetry and will continue to seek adequate support.


Compère Guidelines

(Since April 2009. Last updated December 2017.)

With over a dozen active compères/emcees working in varied rotation and in a self-regulatory fashion, Ó Bhéal keeps the personality of the event in flux and encourages good and respectful compère practice wherever possible. Standards and methods are learnt and improved by observation, practice and through ongoing dialogue with other compères. The event is set up each Monday at around 8pm and begins with an hour of poetry-films which start at 8.30pm. These are played at mid-level volume so that people can arrive early and converse (or watch) if they prefer. The guest and compère also usually both arrive and meet during this time. The compère takes books from the guest if available, puts them on display and confirms both biographical introduction and reading duration. At 9.30pm the films end and the compère opens with a welcome & introduction to the evening’s three main parts. He/She then explains the five word challenge and elicits five words. The compère is the timekeeper for the evening and ensures that the reading time for the guest is not affected and that breaks are not too long to prevent anyone from reading for the open-mic session which ends at 11.50pm. After the five word challenge winner is decided (audience response), the compère announces the winner and the first break begins. Names are taken by the compère for the open-mic session and at the end of this break, the compère resumes with a set of announcements (including other poetry related events, audio recording opt-outs and donation jar contributions) followed by an introduction to the guest, or guests. After the guest reading, books are plugged again and the second break begins. Some names are typically added to the open-mic list at this stage and whatever time left is calculated in relation to the number of readers, so that the break is not too long. Occasionally open-mic contributors will have a few minutes extra to read, as indicated by the compère, but readers who go over the allotted time are unceremoniously defenestrated.


Return Guests

(Since January 2012. Last updated December 2017.)

Due to excessive demand for readings by accomplished poets, the Ó Bhéal board voted to implement a 5-year waiting period before offering readings to poets who have already featured (not including the Winter Warmer festival). The schedule is typically booked up 6-8 months in advance and there’s a permanent list of poets waiting on dates for after that, with about 40-60 new requests each year.


Child Safeguarding Policy

(Since July 2013. Last updated July 2022.)

Ó Bhéal is strongly committed to safeguarding the well-being of all the children and young people with whom it works. Ó Bhéal works to ensure an encouraging, engaging environment, even inspiring, obliquely educational, if not one of continual discovery for each of the workshop participants, while at all times ensuring their safety and welfare. All workshop facilitators are poets who act as assisting writers (as opposed to teachers) and carry into the creative space an abundance of writing experience, accolades and strong publication and workshop backgrounds.

Ó Bhéal’s Child Protection Policy is based upon and follows the principles of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs Child Protection Policy, as outlined in Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017), Our Duty to Care – The Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children and Young People and Poetry Ireland’s Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Young People in the Arts Sector. In accordance with these principles, it is good practice (at the very least) for all organisations that have contact with children and young people to introduce a child protection policy/protocol. This helps to provide safeguards and support for the participant children or teenage writers, as well as for the assisting writers, school teachers and library staff when they are working together.

Ó Bhéal actively ensures that garda vetting procedures are adhered to for each and every project and poet chosen to provide workshops for writers under the age of 18. Garda Vetting for the Unfinished Book of Poetry project is facilitated by Cork City Libraries, Ó Bhéal, the Cork City Council Arts Office, Create Ireland and An Garda Siochána. The mandated person and ‘Designated Liaison Person’ appointed for Ó Bhéal in line with Children First Act 2015 is Paul Casey and our ‘Deputy Designated Liaison Person’ is Julie Field.

Paul Casey is the Mandated person at Ó Bhéal with the resposibility of Child Protection. Paul can be contacted at 0857126299 or info [at] obheal.ie

Definitions and Signs of Abuse and Reporting

“The Agency” herein refers to Tusla – The Child and Family Agency.

Section 14(1) of the Children First Act 2015 states:

‘…where a mandated person knows, believes or has reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that he or she has received, acquired or becomes aware of in the course of his or her employment or profession as such a mandated person, that a child–
(a) has been harmed,
(b) is being harmed, or
(c) is at risk of being harmed,
he or she shall, as soon as practicable, report that knowledge, belief or suspicion, as the case may be, to the Agency.

’Section 14(2) of the Children First Act 2015 also places obligations on mandated persons to report any disclosures made by a child:

‘Where a child believes that he or she–
(a) has been harmed,
(b) is being harmed, or
(c) is at risk of being harmed,
and discloses this belief to a mandated person in the course of a mandated person’s employment or profession as such a person, the mandated person shall, … as soon as practicable, report that disclosure to the Agency.

’Section 2 of the Children First Act 2015 defines harm as follows:

‘harm means in relation to a child–
(a) assault, ill-treatment or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects, or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development or welfare, or,
(b) sexual abuse of the child.’

Reckless endangerment of Children is defined in the Criminal Justice Act 2006, section 176, as follows:

176.—(1) In this section—

“ abuser” means an individual believed by a person who has authority or control over that individual to have seriously harmed or sexually abused a child or more than one child;

“ child” means a person under 18 years of age, except where the context otherwise requires;

“ serious harm” means injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes permanent disfigurement or loss or impairment of the mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any particular member or organ;

“ sexual abuse” means an offence under paragraphs 1 to 13 and 16(a) and (b) of the Schedule to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 .

(2) A person, having authority or control over a child or abuser, who intentionally or recklessly endangers a child by—

(a) causing or permitting any child to be placed or left in a situation which creates a substantial risk to the child of being a victim of serious harm or sexual abuse, or

(b) failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child from such a risk while knowing that the child is in such a situation,

is guilty of an offence.

(3) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (2), no further proceedings in the matter (other than any remand in custody or on bail) shall be taken except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

Offence of withholding information on certain offences against children.

(from the Criminal Justice Act 2012, Section 2)

Subject to this section, a person shall be guilty of an offence if—

(a) he or she knows or believes that an offence, that is a Schedule 1 offence, has been committed by another person against a child, and

(b) he or she has information which he or she knows or believes might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of that other person for that offence, and fails without reasonable excuse to disclose that information as soon as it is practicable to do so to a member of the Garda Síochána.

(2) Subsection (1) applies only to information that a person acquires, receives or becomes aware of after the passing of this Act irrespective of whether the Schedule 1 offence concerned was committed before or after that passing.

(3) The child against whom the Schedule 1 offence concerned was committed (whether or not still a child) shall not be guilty of an offence under this section.

(4) This section is without prejudice to any right or privilege that may arise in any criminal proceedings by virtue of any rule of law or other enactment entitling a person to refuse to disclose information.

(5) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the obligation imposed on a person by subsection (1) to disclose information that he or she has to a member of the Garda Síochána is in addition to, and not in substitution for, any other obligation that the person has to disclose that information to the Garda Síochána or any other person, but that subsection shall not require the first-mentioned person to disclose that information to the Garda Síochána more than once.

Reasonable Grounds for Concern (HSE – Putting Children First)

Reasonable grounds for a child protection or welfare concern include:

– Evidence, for example an injury or behaviour, that is consistent with abuse and is unlikely to have been caused in any other way.

– Any concern about possible sexual abuse.Consistent signs that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect.

– A child saying or indicating by other means that he or she has been abused.

– Admission or indication by an adult or a child of an alleged abuse they committed.

– An account from a person who saw the child being abused.

Reporting and Retrospective Disclosure

Should a concern arise about a child, it is Ó Bhéal’s legal responsibility to make a decision as to whether the concern meets the threshold for a mandated report under the Children First Act 2015 or not.

The Children First Act 2015 requires mandated persons to report a mandated concern to Tusla “as soon as practicable”. The Children First Act requires Tusla to appoint authorised persons to receive mandated reports. Authorised persons are obliged to acknowledge in writing all mandated reports they receive.

If we feel urgent intervention may be required to make the child safe, Ó Bhéal’s mandated person will alert Tusla of the concern in advance of submitting a written report. We will then endeavour to submit a mandated report to Tusla on the report form or via the web portal within three days.

If we are unsure as to whether the concern reaches the legal definition of harm for making a mandated report, Ó Bhéal’s mandated person will discuss the concern with a Tusla social worker and act upon their advice. Should a report then be made to Tusla, said report will not be made anonymously.

Tusla has two forms for reporting child protection and welfare concerns – the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (CPWRF) and the Retrospective Abuse Report Form (RARF). The Child Protection and Welfare Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for concerns about children under the age of 18. The Retrospective Abuse Report Form is to be completed and submitted to Tusla for cases of adults disclosing childhood abuse, aka Retrospective Abuse. Both these Forms can be completed online using the Tusla Portal.


Ó Bhéal follows the Tusla guidelines (Child Safeguarding), with respect to confidentialty procedures.

– Where child protection and welfare concerns arise, information must be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the best interest of the child/young person with the relevant statutory authorities and with parents/guardians.

– No undertakings regarding secrecy can be given. Those working with children/youngpeople and families and in adult services should make this clear to parents/guardiansand to the child/young person.

– The proportionate provision of information to the statutory agencies necessary for the protection of a child is not a breach of confidentiality or data protection.

– Parents/guardiansand children/young people have a right to know if personal information is being shared, unless doing so could put the child/young person at further risk or may put the reporter at risk.

Allegations Against Staff

Ó Bhéal follows the Tusla guidelines (Child Safeguarding), with respect to procedures following allegations against staff.

Ó Bheal’s procedure for responding to allegations of abuse made against workers/volunteers, takes the following into account:

– The priority is to protect the child/young person while taking account of the worker/volunteer’s right to due process. ‘Protective measures’ do not presume guilt.

– It is recommended that the same person should not have responsibility for dealing with the child protection reporting procedure and the employment/contractual issues.

– The agreed reporting procedureshould be followed by mandated persons and/or the DLP. Generally the CEO/Chairperson of the Board (or equivalent) or the human resource department will manage procedures relating to employment issues (including any internal investigation).

– Any action taken should consider the applicable employment contract and the rules of natural justice.

– When an allegation is made against a worker/volunteer a quick resolution should be sought for the benefit of all concerned.

– The procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against workers/volunteers should be objectively applied in a consistent manner.

– All stages of the process must be recorded.

– Care must be taken by the employer to ensure that any actions or investigations do not prejudice or compromise the statutory investigation or assessment.

– Close liaison should be maintained between the employer and Tusla and An Garda Síochána (where appropriate).

Code of Behaviour for Staff Working with Children and Young People

It is important for all employees and volunteers and others in contact with children to:

– Treat all children with respect

– Provide an example of good conduct you wish others to follow

– Operate within the church principles and guidance and any specific procedures

– Be visible to others when working with children whenever possible

– Challenge and report potentially abusive behaviour

– Develop a culture where children can talk about their contacts with staff and others openly

– Respect each child’s boundaries and help them to develop their own sense of their rights as well as helping them to know what they can do if they feel that there is a problem

– Seek parental consent for taking and using photography

In general, it is inappropriate to:

– Spend time alone with children

– Take children to your own home

Employees,volunteers and others must never:

– Hit or physically assault or abuse children

– Develop sexual relationships with children

– Develop relationships with children which could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive

– Act in ways that may be abusive or may place a child at risk of abuse

Employees, volunteers and others must avoid actions or behaviour that could be construed as poor practice or potentially abusive. For example, they should never:

– Use language, make suggestions or offer advice which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive

– Behave physically in a manner which is inappropriate or sexually provocative

– Have a child/children with whom they are working to stayovernight at their home

– Sleep in the same room or bed as a child with whom they are working

– Do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves

– Condone, or participate in, behaviour with children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive

– Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade

– Discriminate against, show different treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusion of others.

Discipline and dealing with challenging behaviour

Ó Bhéal follows the following ‘Our Duty to Care’ guidelines from Tusla.

The use of discipline with children should, as far as possible, be in the form of positive reinforcement.Rules about discipline and sanctions should be agreed as part of the policy of the organisation, andaccepted by all workers and children as a condition of becoming involved with the organisation. It isrecommended that every organisation develop a policy on bullying that is known to and accepted byeveryone. Sanctions should be implemented consistently, fairly and firmly and not used as threats, andchildren should be helped to understand why they are being imposed. When a sanction has beenimposed, it is important that a child is able to feel that she or he is still valued.

Sometimes, children can be disruptive and their behaviour can be challenging. When it happens, it canput the safety of the child him or herself at risk, as well as that of other children and workers. Workersneed to be trained and prepared for coping with disruptive behaviour.

It is recommended that:

– More than one worker is present when challenging behaviour is being dealt with

– A record is kept in an incident book, describing what happened, the circumstances, who wasinvolved, and any injury to a person or to property and how the situation was resolved.

Safe Management of Activities

Ó Bhéal follows the following ‘Our Duty to Care’ guidelines from Tusla.

Safe management practices will not only enable an organisation to run smoothly and efficiently, but itwill also help to minimise the opportunities for accidents or harm to happen to children. The followingpointers should be considered:

Know the children:

– Have defined criteria for membership of the organisation,

– Have a registration system for each child●Keep a record on each child, including medical details, any special needs and emergencycontact telephone numbers.

Keep records of:

– Attendance

– Accidents – keep an incident book (accident records should be reviewed regularly andany unusual patterns reported to senior management)

– Consent forms

– Any complaints or grievances

Know the workers:

– Follow thorough recruitment and selection procedures, as outlined in Section Three

– Have a work schedule displayed so that everyone knows who is on duty

– Respond to any allegations or complaints made about workers

– Make sure there are always sufficient workers of either sex to supervise activities

Pay attention to health and safety matters making sure that:

– Any buildings being used are safe and meet required standards

– There is sufficient heating and ventilation

– Toilets, shower areas and washing facilities are up to standard

– Fire precautions are in place

– First aid facilities and equipment are adequate

– There is access to a phone

– Equipment is checked regularly

– Insurance cover is adequate

Supervising children in all activities:

– Children are less likely to experience accidents or other harms if they are supervised properly.Activities should be organised so that they maximise participation, fun and learning, but also safety. So it is important to ensure that

– Children are not normally left unattended●Adequate numbers of workers of both sexes are available to supervise the activities

– Workers know at all times where children are and what they are doing

– Any activity using potentially dangerous equipment has constant adult supervision

– Dangerous behaviour is not allowed

If the activities involve staying away from home overnight, attention should also be paid to the following:

– Safe methods of transport

– Adequate insurance, to cover all aspects of the trip

– Written parental consent (for each individual trip)

– Any information about the children which may be relevant to staying away overnight, likeallergies, medical problems, or special needs

– Appropriate and well supervised sleeping arrangements

– Respect for the privacy of children and young people in dormitories, changing rooms,showers and toilets.

Mandated Person

The co-ordinator of The Unfinished Book of Poetry project, Ó Bhéal director Paul Casey facilitates creative writing at all ages and levels and works via Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools scheme. He has attended the child protection best practice and policy guidelines course provided by the Arts Council and Health Services Executive. In December 2017 he was appointed as the Garda Vetting Officer for Ó Bhéal via the Public Participation Network and the Cork Volunteer Centre. For more please refer to Ó Bhéal’s Garda Vetting Policy.

For more detailed information about Child Protection Procedures, Policies and Guidelines, refer to the following links:

Department of Children and Youth Affairs Child Protection Policy Jan 2011

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017)

Criminal Justice Act 2006

Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools

Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

Poetry Ireland’s Child Protection Policy



(Since October 2013. Last updated December 2017.)

Ó Bhéal is guided by Best Practices For Volunteer Programs, largely guided by Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Festival who developed Festival Volunteer Programs: Best Practices and Planning Manual, a composite of best practices to implement in cultural organizations that program an annual festival. These steps were critical in the changing landscape of volunteerism, and since then Hot Docs has continued to improve and expand its volunteer program based on these 10 best practices:

1. The value of volunteers should be recognized publically by the festival’s senior management and its Board of Directors.
2. A festival staff member should be assigned responsibility for the management of the volunteer program.
3. A festival should develop policies and procedures that will govern volunteer involvement in their organization.
4. The festival should implement a formal and consistent recruitment and screening procedure for all volunteers.
5. A festival should assign volunteers to roles that take advantage of their skills and experience, while also matching their interests and requests.
6. A festival should organize volunteer orientation meetings, and provide volunteers with appropriate training and informative background materials.
7. A festival should provide volunteers with an enjoyable and safe working environment, arrange supervision where appropriate and track volunteers’ performance.
8. A festival should develop conflict resolution strategies, train volunteers and staff to meet these guidelines and set clear standards for dismissal.
9. A festival should solicit feedback and collaboration from volunteers, and consider each volunteer to be an equal member of the organization’s team.

Each practice offers an opportunity to build greater diversity and inclusion into your organization as you consider existing biases or barriers, and look for ways to expand your volunteer base.


Artistic Policy

(Since October 2017. Last updated September 2019.)

With regard to programming, our core focus is the presentation of quality, contemporary poetry. We also encourage and facilitate wherever possible, cross-genre/artform collaborations, especially when budget is available.

95% of guests have been published by reputable publishers. A number of factors are considered when selecting guest poets. Due to the high demand for readings, the poet may not have read at Ó Bhéal during the previous five years. Gender balance is addressed vigorously. We deliberately choose a variety of experience, culture and style, to increase awareness around what is possible in poetry.

We don’t programmme more than 12 months in advance. Reading requests are received regularly and we have a list which could fill our programme for approx. two years (100+ poets). 60%-75% of guests are from Ireland. We give preference to overseas poets who are already planning to visit. We also continually include emerging poets with first collections and we pair poets who have not yet published collections, but are very close to, or have achieved merit though journal publication, competition placement and/or performance history.

Budget usually prohibits us from inviting overseas poets, except for specific, targeted grants or our end-of-year poet (of exemplary acclaim), whom we choose from a different country each year.

Selecting poets for the Winter Warmer involves 4-5 meetings with the board members. Again, preference is given to visiting overseas poets, a variety of style and experience. A shoestring budget mean we need to be opportunistic regarding this. Arc Publications provides 3-4 international poets every year. At least 2-4 collaborative sets are programmed for the festival, with an eye to diversity of art form. At least 4-6 foreign language poets are invited.

While Ó Bhéal endeavours to ensure no censorship of any of the poets, poems, artists or poetry-films at any of its events, any of these will be prevented from featuring should they be considered inappropriate, within the bounds of both common decency and law.



Public Engagement

(Since October 2017. Last updated April 2018.)

The regularity of Ó Bhéal’s engagement with the public and Irish poets continues to grow an informed, inclusive and appreciative audience. VBoth festival and series are aimed at writers and the wider public and events are well-attended. Ó Bhéal advertises widely, both locally and nationally to grow its audience base and welcomes adults of all backgrounds to its events, plus people of all ages to the Winter Warmer festival. Audiences are mostly from Cork city and surrounds, though we frequently have visitors from adjacent counties and further afield.

More than 50% of attendees are writers who participate. Around 25%-40% are from the general public, usually present to listen. The compère always invites the audience to partake in the writing challenge and the open-mic.

Poetry-films encourage newcomers to attend and the four part format makes the evening diverse and interesting for first-timers and regulars alike. The audience gains a wide experience of what poetry can do. Aside from poetry-films, they witness writers and non-writers create poems in under 15 minutes, often penning their own poems for the first time. They experience the well-crafted, contemporary verse of featured poets and can purchase their books. They listen to local poets read at the open-mic and gain a strong impression of local talent, while local writers deepen their relationship with the artform.

Entry is free which affords all public members the opportunity not only to listen, watch and enjoy, but to participate if they so wish. Anyone from the public can engage with the artform either actively or passively, without pressure or intimidation. A different compère presents every week to maintain an atmosphere of community and inclusivity. Audiences ranges in age from 18-80.



Marketing and PR

(Since October 2017. Last updated April 2018.)

Ó Bhéal drives a multi-tiered marketing strategy for its weekly event, advertising and delivering press releases regularly via newspapers, radio stations, posters, email, social media, online hubs, plus a host of arts-office ezines and city brochures. Every two months photos & biographies are collected and optimised for Ó Bhéal’s website and released publically as the upcoming line-up (which remains archived permanently along with mp3 podcasts of the readings), weekly for Facebook and Twitter posts, for Culture Fox, Ó Bhéal’s bimonthly e-zine to 1000+ poets/enthusiasts, for printed posters placed outside the venue door on Winthrop street which is displayed for a week at a time, plus weekly listings and write-ups in the Evening Echo. We are plugged regularly on Radio na Gaeilge, Life FM and promoted via the Poetry Ireland website & e-letters, Cork City weekly e-zine, Cork County weekly e-zine and monthly in Whazon?. Events are covered occasionally in Books Ireland, the Irish Times and Lyric FM. TG4’s Imeall has feaured Ó Bhéal twice. BBC4 also filmed an Ó Bhéal evening as did Arté TV and Culture Fox TV. Lyric FM has also recorded and broadcast an Ó Bheal event. For the Winter Warmer festival, we make use all of the same channels mentioned above, along with distributing 1,500 flyers to over 50 strategically placed city/county venues, including a number of A4 and A5 posters. The Evening Echo is Ó Bhéal’s media partner for the Winter Warmer and they run a series of articles and a competition promotion (2 x full page spreads) in the weeks leading up to the festival. The Irish Examiner also includes a significant article.


Fundraising and Sponsorship

(Since October 2017. Last updated April 2018.)

Each year Ó Bhéal applies to a number of funding organisations to support its events and continually seeks income to provide fair remuneration for guest poets and operating costs. Since 2007/8 funding applications have seen successful grants received each year from the Arts Council, Cork City Council, Foras na Gaeilge and Poetry Ireland, including gradual increases almost every year, except for Poetry Ireland who now provide €300 per year towards the Winter Warmer festival. The Heritage Council and Colmcille also fund 2-3 events annually. We have applied for a larger Heritage Grant in 2018 (results due late April), to cover 6- 8 events. A donation jar was brought into play in 2009 which is circulated at every event. This now brings in excess of €3,000 per annum. In 2016 Ó Bhéal received a once-off grant of €8,900 from the Community Foundation for Ireland to present eight centenary events and which also paid for Ó Bhéal’s permanent projector and screen. The Five Words International Poetry competition just about pays for itelf, but could be developed into a valuable income stream. Local businesses are approached each year to contribute to the Winter Warmer festival and a number of these continue to sponsor the event, which amounts to nearly 50% of festival costs. While reasonable accommodation prices are a thing of the past, Ó Bhéal continues to seek more affordable options. Ó Bhéal continues to seek new funding streams for its programme and has recently been allocated part of its Erasmus+ grant towards the 2018 Winter Warmer costs.


Data Protection Policy & General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

(Since December 2017. Last updated 3rd of March 2018.)

Following the Data Protection Commissioner’s guidelines at www.dataprotection.ie, Ó Bhéal adheres to the following principles of data protection:

1. Obtain and process information fairly in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
2. Keep it only for one or more specified, explicit and lawful purposes.
3. Use and disclose it only in ways compatible with these purposes,
4. Keep it safe and secure.
5. Keep it accurate, complete and up-to-date.
6. Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive.
7. Retain it for no longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes.
8. Give a copy of his/her personal data to that individual, on request.

Data Protection Policy


Ó Bhéal adheres to the principles and data protection regulations as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ó Bhéal holds basic personal data about its employees, board members and volunteers, as well as biographies and contact details of guest poets and competition entrants.

This policy sets out how Ó Bhéal seeks to protect personal data and ensure that staff understand the rules governing their use of personal data to which they have access in the course of their work. In particular, this policy requires staff to ensure that the Data Protection Officer (DPO) be consulted before any significant new data processing activity is initiated to ensure that relevant compliance steps are addressed.

Ó Bhéal has a commitment to protecting the rights and freedoms of data subjects and safely and securely processing their data in accordance with all of our legal obligations.


Personal data: ‘Personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.

Personal data we gather may include: individuals’ phone number, email address, educational background, financial and pay details, details of certificates and diplomas, education and skills, marital status, nationality, job title, and CV.

Special categories of personal data: Outside of its facilitation of Garda Vetting forms (see Ó Bhéal’s Garda Vetting Policy beneath), Ó Bhéal does not request or collect any special categories of data, which include information about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership (or non-membership), physical or mental health or condition, criminal offences, or related proceedings, and genetic and biometric information — any use of special categories of personal data that may be received should be strictly controlled in accordance with this policy.

Data controller: ‘Data controller’ means the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by law.

Data processor: ‘Processor’ means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

Processing: ‘Processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.

Supervisory authority: This is the national body responsible for data protection. The supervisory authority for our organisation is the office of the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland.


This policy applies to all staff, whether they be full-time, temporary, part-time, volunteers or interns. They must be familiar with this policy and comply with its terms.

This policy supplements our other policies relating to use of data. We may supplement or amend this policy by additional policies and guidelines from time to time. Any new or modified policy will be circulated to staff before being adopted.

Who is responsible for this policy?

As our data protection officer (DPO), Paul Casey has overall responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of this policy. You should contact the DPO for further information about this policy if necessary.
Paul Casey: info@obheal.ie / 0857126299

The Principles

Ó Bhéal shall comply with the principles of data enumerated in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. We will make every effort possible in everything we do to comply with these principles.

The Principles are:

1. Lawful, fair and transparent

Data collection must be fair, for a legal purpose and we must be open and transparent about how the data will be used.

2. Limited for its purpose

Data can only be collected for a specific purpose.

3. Data minimisation

Any data collected must be necessary and not excessive for its purpose.

4. Accuracy

The data we hold must be accurate and kept up to date.

5. Retention

We cannot store data longer than necessary.

6. Integrity and confidentiality

The data we hold must be kept safe and secure.

Accountability and transparency

We must ensure accountability and transparency in all our use of personal data. We must show how we comply with each Principle. We are responsible for keeping a written record of how all the data processing activities you are responsible for comply with each of the Principles. This is kept up to date and is approved by the DPO.

To comply with data protection laws and the accountability and transparency Principle of GDPR, Ó Bhéal must demonstrate compliance. We are responsible for understanding particular responsibilities to ensure we meet the following data protection obligations:

1. Fully implement all appropriate technical and organisational measures

2. Maintain up to date and relevant documentation on all processing activities

3. Conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments

4. Implement measures to ensure privacy by design and default, including:

– Data minimisation

– Pseudonymisation

– Transparency

– Allowing individuals to monitor processing

Our Procedures

Fair and lawful processing

We must process personal data fairly and lawfully in accordance with individuals’ rights under the first Principle. This generally means that we should not process personal data unless the individual whose details we are processing has consented to this happening.

If we cannot apply a lawful basis (explained below), our processing does not conform to the first principle and will be unlawful. Data subjects have the right to have any data unlawfully processed erased

Controlling vs. processing data

Ó Bhéal is classified as a data controller and data processor. We must maintain our appropriate registration with the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office in order to continue lawfully controlling and processing data.

As a data processor, we must:

– Not use a sub-processor without written authorisation of the data controller

– Co-operate fully with the Data Protection Commissioner or other supervisory authority

– Ensure the security of the processing

– Keep accurate records of processing activities

– Notify the controller of any personal data breaches

If you are in any doubt about how we handle data, contact the DPO for clarification.

Lawful basis for processing data

We must establish a lawful basis for processing data and ensure that any data we are responsible for managing has a written lawful basis approved by our DPO. It is our responsibility to check the lawful basis for any data we are working with and ensure all of our actions comply with the lawful basis. At least one of the following conditions must apply whenever we process personal data:

1. Consent

We hold recent, clear, explicit, and defined consent for the individual’s data to be processed for a specific purpose.

2. Contract

The processing is necessary to fulfil or prepare a contract for the individual.

3. Legal obligation

We have a legal obligation to process the data (excluding a contract).

4. Vital interests

Processing the data is necessary to protect a person’s life or in a medical situation.

5. Public function

Processing necessary to carry out a public function, a task of public interest or the function has a clear basis in law.

6. Legitimate interest

The processing is necessary for our legitimate interests. This condition does not apply if there is a good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides the legitimate interest.

Ó Bhéal considers the following factors when receiving data:

– What is the purpose for processing the data? Usually this is for competition purposes and involves recording contact details including name, address, phone number and email address. This information is kept in an excel document and in our email archives. Sometimes, personal contact information is received via social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter). Guest poets also provide certain personal information, including contact information, which is kept secure in our email software (roundcube) an on our encrypted cloud.

– Can it reasonably be done in a different way? Ó Bhéal collects the absolute minimum information required and stores this in an appropriately secured digital environment (roundcube, apple cloud).

– Is there a choice as to whether or not to process the data? Ó Bhéal processes no more personal data than is practically necessary for its usual non-for-profit operations ( poetry=related competitions, guest readings and poetry excursions).

– Who does the processing benefit? Ó Bhéal ensures that any personal data it processes must benefit the primary owner.

– What is the impact of the processing on the individual?

– Are they a vulnerable person? Ó Bhéal’s Child Protection and Garda Vetting policies (herein) outline its responsibility to vulnerable persons.

– Would they be likely to object to the processing? Ó Bhéal has adopted a double opt-in policy in order to process personal data, in order to comply with the GDPR regulations by May 2018.

– Are we able to stop the processing at any time on request, and have we factored in how to do this? Ó Bhéal will at any time, and within as short a timeframe possible, stop or reverse any processing of data, on request of the owner. Deletion procedures include confirmation that all copies of the relevant data are deleted immediately, upon request.

Our commitment to the first Principle requires us to document this process and show that we have considered which lawful basis best applies to each processing purpose, and fully justify these decisions.

We must also ensure that individuals whose data is being processed by us are informed of the lawful basis for processing their data, as well as the intended purpose. This should occur via a privacy notice. This applies whether we have collected the data directly from the individual, or from another source.

If any staff or volunteers at Ó Bhéal are responsible for making an assessment of the lawful basis and implementing the privacy notice (sample beneath) for the processing activity, they must have this approved by the DPO.

Special Categories of Personal Data

What are special categories of personal data?

Previously known as sensitive personal data, this means data about an individual which is more sensitive than usual and so requires more protection. This type of data could create more significant risks to a person’s fundamental rights and freedoms, for example by putting them at risk of unlawful discrimination. The special categories include information about an individual’s:

– race
– ethnic origin
– politics
– religion
– trade union membership
– genetics
– biometrics (where used for ID purposes)
– health
– sexual orientation

While not foreseeable, should Ó Bhéal ever be required to process special categories of personal data as outlined above, we will require the data subject’s explicit consent to do this unless exceptional circumstances apply or we are required to do this by law (e.g. to comply with legal obligations to ensure health and safety at work). Any such consent will need to clearly identify what the relevant data is, why it is being processed and to whom it will be disclosed.

The condition for processing special categories of personal data must comply with the law. If we do not have a lawful basis for processing special categories of data that processing activity must cease.


Our responsibilities

– Analysing and documenting the type of personal data we hold
– Checking procedures to ensure they cover all the rights of the individual
– Identify the lawful basis for processing data
– Ensuring consent procedures are lawful
– Implementing and reviewing procedures to detect, report and investigate personal data breaches
– Store data in safe and secure ways
– Assess the risk that could be posed to individual rights and freedoms should data be compromised

Your responsibilities

– Fully understand your data protection obligations
– Check that any data processing activities you are dealing with comply with our policy and are justified
– Do not use data in any unlawful way
– Do not store data incorrectly, be careless with it or otherwise cause us to breach data protection laws and our policies through your actions
– Comply with this policy at all times
– Raise any concerns, notify any breaches or errors, and report anything suspicious or contradictory to this policy or our legal obligations without delay

Responsibilities of the Data Protection Officer

– Keeping the board updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues
– Reviewing all data protection procedures and policies on a regular basis
– Arranging data protection training and advice for all staff members and those included in this policy
– Answering questions on data protection from staff, board members and other stakeholders
– Responding to individuals such as clients and employees who wish to know which data is being held on them by us
– Checking and approving with third parties that handle the company’s data any contracts or agreement regarding data processing

Ó Bhéal’s IT Responsibilities

– Ensure all systems, services, software and equipment meet acceptable security standards
– Checking and scanning security hardware and software regularly to ensure it is functioning properly
– Researching third-party services, such as cloud services the company is considering using to store or process data

Ó Bhéal’s Marketing Responsibilities

– Approving data protection statements attached to emails and other marketing copy
– Addressing data protection queries from clients, target audiences or media outlets
– Coordinating with the DPO to ensure all marketing initiatives adhere to data protection laws and the company’s Data Protection Policy

Accuracy and Relevance

Ó Bhéal will ensure that any personal data we process is accurate, adequate, relevant and not excessive, given the purpose for which it was obtained. We will not process personal data obtained for one purpose for any unconnected purpose unless the individual concerned has agreed to this or would otherwise reasonably expect this.

Individuals may ask that we correct inaccurate personal data relating to them. If you believe that information is inaccurate you should record the fact that the accuracy of the information is disputed and inform the DPO.

Data Security

Ó Bhéal keeps personal data secure against loss or misuse. Where other organisations process personal data as a service on our behalf, the DPO will establish what, if any, additional specific data security arrangements need to be implemented in contracts with those third party organisations.

Storing Data Securely

– In rare cases when data is stored on printed paper, this is kept in a secure place by the DPO, where unauthorised personnel cannot access it
– Printed data is shredded and recycled when no longer needed
– Data stored on computers is protected by up-to-date encryption and strong passwords that are changed regularly. We encourage staff to use a password manager to create and store their passwords.
– Data stored on CDs or memory sticks is encrypted or password protected and locked away securely when not being used
– The DPO must approve any cloud used to store data
– Servers containing personal data are kept in a secure location, away from general office space
– Data is regularly backed up in line with the company’s backup procedures
– Data is never be saved directly to mobile devices such as laptops, tablets or smartphones
– Any servers containing sensitive data must be approved and protected by security software
– All possible technical measures are put in place to keep data secure

Backup Procedures

All digital data is backed up regularly onto an external hard drive (monthly), to the Ó Bhéal apple cloud account (weekly) and on our encrypted, off-site email servers (twice daily).

Data Retention

We must retain personal data for no longer than is necessary. What is necessary will depend on the circumstances of each case, taking into account the reasons that the personal data was obtained, but should be determined in a manner consistent with our data retention guidelines. For the most part this data is in the form of email and phone contacts, which are kept indefinitely unless otherwise requested. In the case of more sensitive data, such as contained in CVs and travels, these are kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary by Ó Bhéal and are permanently deleted once deemed inessential to their originally agreed purpose.

Transferring Data Internationally

There are restrictions on international transfers of personal data. Ó Bhéal doe not transfer personal data abroad, or anywhere else outside of normal rules and procedures without express permission from the DPO.

Rights of individuals

Individuals have rights to their data which we must respect and comply with to the best of our ability. Ó Bhéal ensures that individuals can exercise their rights in the following ways:

1. Right to be informed

– Ó Bhéal shall provide privacy notices which are concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible, free of charge, that are written in clear and plain language, particularly if aimed at children.

– Ó Bhéal keeps a record of how we use personal data to demonstrate compliance with the need for accountability and transparency.

2. Right of access

– Ó Bhéal will enable individuals to access their personal data and supplementary information when requested

– Ó Bhéal will allow individuals to be aware of and verify the lawfulness of the processing activities

3. Right to rectification

– Ó Bhéal will rectify or amend any personal data of an individual if requested because of inaccuracy or incompleteness.

– This will be done without delay, and shall take no later than one month. This may be extended to two months with permission from the DPO.

4. Right to erasure

– Ó Bhéal shall delete or remove an individual’s data if requested and there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.

5. Right to restrict processing

– Ó Bhéal will comply with any request to restrict, block, or otherwise suppress the processing of personal data.

– Ó Bhéal is permitted to store personal data if it has been restricted, but not process it further. Ó Bhéal must retain enough data to ensure the right to restriction is respected in the future.

6. Right to data portability

– Ó Bhéal will provide individuals with their data so that they can reuse it for their own purposes or across different services.

– Ó Bhéal will provide it in a commonly used, machine-readable format, and send it directly to another controller if requested.

7. Right to object

– Ó Bhéal respects the right of an individual to object to data processing based on legitimate interest or the performance of a public interest task.

– Ó Bhéal respects the right of an individual to object to direct marketing, including profiling.

– Ó Bhéal respects the right of an individual to object to processing their data for scientific and historical research and statistics.

8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

– Ó Bhéal respects the rights of individuals in relation to automated decision making and profiling.

– Individuals retain their right to object to such automated processing, have the rationale explained to them, and request human intervention.

Privacy Notices

When to supply a privacy notice

A privacy notice must be supplied at the time the data is obtained if obtained directly from the data subject. If the data is not obtained directly from the data subject, the privacy notice must be provided within a reasonable period of having obtained the data, which mean within one month.

If the data is being used to communicate with the individual, then the privacy notice must be supplied at the latest when the first communication takes place.

If disclosure to another recipient is envisaged, then the privacy notice must be supplied prior to the data being disclosed.

What to include in a privacy notice

Privacy notices must be concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible. They are provided free of charge and must be written in clear and plain language, particularly if aimed at children

The following information must be included in a privacy notice to all data subjects:

– Identification and contact information of the data controller and the data protection officer

– The purpose of processing the data and the lawful basis for doing so

– The legitimate interests of the controller or third party, if applicable

– The right to withdraw consent at any time, if applicable

– The category of the personal data (only for data not obtained directly from the data subject)

– Any recipient or categories of recipients of the personal data

– Detailed information of any transfers to third countries and safeguards in place

– The retention period of the data or the criteria used to determine the retention period, including details for the data disposal after the retention period

– The right to lodge a complaint with the ICO, and internal complaint procedures

– The source of the personal data, and whether it came from publicly available sources (only for data not obtained directly from the data subject)

– Any existence of automated decision making, including profiling and information about how those decisions are made, their significances and consequences to the data subject

– Whether the provision of personal data is part of a statutory of contractual requirement or obligation and possible consequences for any failure to provide the data (only for data obtained directly from the data subject)

Sample Privacy Notice 1:

Here at Ó Bhéal we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information where absolutely necessary, to administer and facilitate our competitions and poetry events, which you have agreed to or where you have requested the same from us.

However, from time to time we would like to contact you with details of other events and competitions we provide. If you consent to us contacting you for this purpose please tick to say how you would like us to contact you:

Post ☐ Email ☐ Telephone ☐ Text message ☐

Unless expressly agreed, like when facilitating Garda Vetting procedures, Ó Bhéal under no circumstances passes your personal details onto third parties.

If you would like to receive occasional emails from Ó Bhéal, please confirm by agreeing below.

I agree ☐

For any further information please read Ó Bhéal’s Data Protection Policy (https://www.obheal.ie/blog/about-o-bheal/o-bheal-policies/#GDPR), or contact the Data Protection Officer, Paul Casey, at: info@obheal.ie or 0857126299

Sample Privacy Notice 2:

Ó Bhéal requires your consent to record your full name and basic contact information (email and phone number) in order to accept submissions to either of its international competitions (poetry or poetry-film). You retain the right to withdraw this consent at any time, if applicable, as well as the right to be given a copy of the relevant data and/or to request its immediate and permanent deletion.

This data shall otherwise be retained for up to one year from the closing date of the relevant competition, after which it shall be destroyed by way of permanent digital deletion (including any backups or copies). You have the right to lodge any complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner, and to internal complaint procedures.

For any further information please read Ó Bhéal’s Data Protection Policy (https://www.obheal.ie/blog/about-o-bheal/o-bheal-policies/#GDPR), or contact the Data Protection Officer, Paul Casey, at: info@obheal.ie or 0857126299

Subject Access Requests

What is a subject access request?

An individual has the right to receive confirmation that their data is being processed, access to their personal data and supplementary information which means the information which should be provided in a privacy notice.

How we deal with subject access requests

Ó Bhéal will provide an individual with a copy of the information the request, free of charge. This shall occur without delay, and within one month of receipt. We endeavour to provide data subjects access to their information in commonly used electronic formats, and where possible, provide direct access to the information through a remote accessed secure system.

If complying with the request is complex or numerous, the deadline can be extended by two months, but the individual must be informed within one month. You must obtain approval from the DPO before extending the deadline.

We can refuse to respond to certain requests, and can, in circumstances of the request being manifestly unfounded or excessive, charge a fee. If the request is for a large quantity of data, we can request the individual specify the information they are requesting. This can only be done with express permission from the DPO.

Once a subject access request has been made, Ó Bhéal takes care to not change or amend any of the data that has been requested, as doing so is a criminal offence.

Data Portability Requests

We must provide the data requested in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format. This would normally be a CSV file, although other formats are acceptable. We must provide this data either to the individual who has requested it, or to the data controller they have requested it be sent to. This must be done free of charge and without delay, and no later than one month. This can be extended to two months for complex or numerous requests, but the individual must be informed of the extension within one month and you must receive express permission from the DPO first.

Right to Erasure

What is the right to erasure?

Individuals have a right to have their data erased and for processing to cease in the following circumstances:

– Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected and / or processed

– Where consent is withdrawn

– Where the individual objects to processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing

– The personal data was unlawfully processed or otherwise breached data protection laws

– To comply with a legal obligation

– The processing relates to a child

How we deal with the right to erasure.

We can only refuse to comply with a right to erasure in the following circumstances:

– To exercise the right of freedom of expression and information

– To comply with a legal obligation for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority

– For public health purposes in the public interest

– For archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research, historical research or statistical purposes

– The exercise or defence of legal claims

If personal data that needs to be erased has been passed onto other parties or recipients, they must be contacted and informed of their obligation to erase the data. If the individual asks, we must inform them of those recipients.

The Right to Object

Individuals have the right to object to their data being used on grounds relating to their particular situation. We must cease processing unless:

– We have legitimate grounds for processing which override the interests, rights and freedoms of the individual.

– The processing relates to the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

We must always inform the individual of their right to object at the first point of communication, i.e. in the privacy notice. We must offer a way for individuals to object online.

The right to restrict automated profiling or decision making

We may only carry out automated profiling or decision making that has a legal or similarly significant effect on an individual in the following circumstances:

– It is necessary for the entry into or performance of a contract.

– Based on the individual’s explicit consent.

– Otherwise authorised by law.

In these circumstances, we must:

– Give individuals detailed information about the automated processing.

– Offer simple ways for them to request human intervention or challenge any decision about them.
– Carry out regular checks and user testing to ensure our systems are working as intended.

Third Parties

Using third party controllers and processors

Should the need arise, as a data controller and data processor, Ó Bhéal must have written contracts in place with any third party data controllers and/or data processors that we may use. The contract must contain specific clauses which set out our and their liabilities, obligations and responsibilities.

As a data controller, Ó Bhéal must only appoint processors who can provide sufficient guarantees under GDPR and that the rights of data subjects will be respected and protected.

As a data processor, Ó Bhéal must only act on the documented instructions of a controller. We acknowledge our responsibilities as a data processor under GDPR and we will protect and respect the rights of data subjects.


Our contracts must comply with the standards set out by the Data Protection Commissioner and, where possible, follow the standard contractual clauses which are available. Our contracts with any data controllers and/or data processors must set out the subject matter and duration of the processing, the nature and stated purpose of the processing activities, the types of personal data and categories of data subject, and the obligations and rights of the controller.

At a minimum, our contracts must include terms that specify:

– Acting only on written instructions

– Those involved in processing the data are subject to a duty of confidence

– Appropriate measures will be taken to ensure the security of the processing

– Sub-processors will only be engaged with the prior consent of the controller and under a written contract

– The controller will assist the processor in dealing with subject access requests and allowing data subjects to exercise their rights under GDPR

– The processor will assist the controller in meeting its GDPR obligations in relation to the security of processing, notification of data breaches and implementation of Data Protection Impact Assessments

– Delete or return all personal data at the end of the contract

– Submit to regular audits and inspections, and provide whatever information necessary for the controller and processor to meet their legal obligations.

– Nothing will be done by either the controller or processor to infringe on GDPR.

Criminal Offence Data

Criminal record checks

Any criminal record checks are justified by law. Criminal record checks cannot be undertaken based solely on the consent of the subject. We cannot keep a comprehensive register of criminal offence data. All data relating to criminal offences is considered to be a special category of personal data and must be treated as such. You must have approval from the DPO prior to carrying out a criminal record check. For more please refer to Ó Bhéal’s Garda Vetting Policy.

Audits, Monitoring and Training

Data audits

Ó Bhéal conducts annual data audits to manage and mitigate. This contains information on what data is held, where it is stored, how it is used, who is responsible and any further regulations or retention timescales that may be relevant. Ó Bhéal conducts this regular data audit as defined by the DPO and normal procedures.


Everyone must observe this policy. The DPO has overall responsibility for this policy. Ó Bhéal will keep this policy under review and amend or change it as required. You must notify the DPO of any breaches of this policy. You must comply with this policy fully and at all times.


Ó Bhéal staff must receive adequate training on provisions of data protection laws specific to their role. He/she must complete all training as requested. If he/she moves role or responsibilities, they are responsible for requesting new data protection training relevant to their new role or responsibilities.

If staff require additional training on data protection matters, contact the DPO.

Reporting Breaches

Any breach of this policy or of data protection laws must be reported as soon as practically possible. This means as soon as you have become aware of a breach. Ó Bhéal has a legal obligation to report any data breaches to the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours.

All members of staff have an obligation to report actual or potential data protection compliance failures. This allows us to:

– Investigate the failure and take remedial steps if necessary

– Maintain a register of compliance failures

– Notify the Data Protection Commissioner of any compliance failures that are material either in their own right or as part of a pattern of failures

Any member of staff who fails to notify of a breach, or is found to have known or suspected a breach has occurred but has not followed the correct reporting procedures will be liable to disciplinary action.

Failure to Comply

We take compliance with this policy very seriously. Failure to comply puts both you and the organisation at risk.

The importance of this policy means that failure to comply with any requirement may lead to disciplinary action under our procedures which may result in dismissal.

If you have any questions or concerns about anything in this policy, do not hesitate to contact the Data Protection Officer, Paul Casey, at: info@obheal.ie or 0857126299.



Safe Driving for Work

(Since December 2017. Last updated December 2017.)

Following best practice as outlined in the Health and Safety Authority’s Safe Driving for Work Driver’s Handbook, Ó Bhéal’s Safe Driving Policy follows:

Aim of this policy

To reduce vehicle incident and at-fault work related road collision costs and injuries, on an ongoing basis, by promoting a safe driving culture within the organisation.

Objectives of the policy

1. To make drivers aware of the main risks they face or create when driving for work
2. To make sure that employees who drive vehicles in the course of their work demonstrate safe, efficient driving skills and other good road safety habits at all times.
3. To maintain all company vehicles in a safe, clean and roadworthy condition to ensure the
maximum safety of the drivers, occupants and other road users, and reduce the impacts of company vehicles on the environment – this also applies to personal vehicles used for work purposes.

Code of conduct

While driving company or own vehicles for work purposes, employees must comply with traffic legislation, be conscious of road safety and demonstrate safe driving and other good road safety habits.

The following actions in company vehicles will be viewed as serious breaches of conduct and dismissal may be a consequence:

• drinking or being under the influence of drugs while driving
• driving while disqualified or not correctly licensed
• reckless or dangerous driving causing death or injury
• failing to stop after a collision
• acquiring penalty points leading to suspension of licence any actions that warrant the suspension of a licence

Responsibilities as an employee – Drivers of Company Vechicles

Every driver of a company vehicle must:

• make sure they hold a current driver licence for the category of vehicle they are driving and this licence is carried when driving a company vehicle
• immediately notify their supervisor or manager if their driver licence has been suspended or cancelled, or has had limitations placed upon it
• take time to familiarise themselves with the vehicle’s handbook
• be responsible and accountable for their actions when operating a company vehicle or driving for the purposes of work
• carry out a full daily walk around check prior to using the vehicle
• display the highest level of professional conduct when driving a company vehicle
• regularly check the oil, tyre pressures, radiator and battery levels of company vehicles they regularly use
• comply with the Rules of The Road and the safe Driving for Work Handbook at all times
• assess hazards while driving and anticipate ‘what if’ scenarios
• drive within the legal speed limits, including driving to the conditions
• wear a seat belt and make sure all occupants wear their seat belt at all times
• only drive when fit to do so – never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including
prescription and over the counter medication if they cause drowsiness
• avoid distraction when driving – if you need to, adjust or set sat-navs / car stereos / mirrors before setting off. If you need to re-adjust whilst driving pull over safely in order to do so
• report any near-misses, crashes and scrapes, including those that do not result in injury, and follow the collision procedures outlined in this policy
• report vehicle defects before the next vehicle use
• never carry any hazardous substances without the prior approval of the line manager.

Hazardous goods may only be carried in full compliance with relevant legislation

In addition, it is required that all drivers:

• take regular and adequate rest breaks, at least every two hours
• stop when tired
• plan their journeys, taking into account pre-journey work duties, the length of the trip and post-journey commitments
• stay overnight if driving time and non-driving duties exceed 10 hours in one day

Responsibilities as an employee – Drivers using their own car for work

If an employee is driving their own vehicle for work, the same policies apply.

In addition:

• the employee must seek the employer’s agreement before using their vehicle for work
• the car must be legally registered, authorised and insured for the purposes of work – the employee must show evidence of this on request
• the employee must not carry loads for which the vehicle is unsuited, nor may they carry more passengers than there are seat belts
• the vehicle must not be used in conditions for which it was not designed (such as off-road)

Responsibilities as an employer

The employer will take all steps to ensure company vehicles are as safe as possible and will not require employees to drive under conditions that are unsafe or likely to create an unsafe environment, physical distress or fatigue.

Vehicle selection and procurement

Giving priority to safety features when selecting new vehicles, including:

• only buying and hiring vehicles that rate four or more stars on the EuroNCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) tests
• choosing vehicles with ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ABS brakes and side head- protecting airbags
• only buying and hiring vehicles that are light coloured
• fitting all vehicles with a first aid kit, a securely fitted fire extinguisher, a high visibility jacket for each seat in the vehicle, a torch and an emergency triangle

Vehicle maintenance

Ensuring all vehicles are well maintained and that the equipment promotes driver, operator and passenger safety by:

• servicing the vehicles according to manufacturers’ recommendations
• setting up procedures where employees check their vehicle’s oil, water, tyre pressures and general cleanliness on a monthly basis, then record the inspections on a pre-use check sheet
• keeping maintenance schedules in the glove boxes of all vehicles, which are completed each time the vehicles are serviced in any way
• following the maintenance schedules in the vehicles’ manuals
• setting up a procedure to identify and rectify all defects no how matter how small, as soon as practicable

Safe driver behaviour

Encouraging safe driving behaviour by:

• not paying employees’ speeding or other infringement fines
• forbidding the use of mobile phones in vehicles while driving (including hands-free)
• encouraging regular breaks while driving
• providing taxis and designated drivers to and from work social events
• providing food and non-alcoholic drinks at work functions
• encouraging the use of public transport, taxis and buses whenever possible
• making sure the employer is informed if existing employees become unlicensed

Fuel Efficiency

Encouraging better fuel efficiency by:

• setting up and promoting a car pool scheme for work car use
• setting up and promoting a workplace travel plan
• providing training on, and circulating information about, travel planning and efficient driving habits
• encouraging the use of other transport or remote conferencing whenever practical

What to do in the event of an incident in a company vehicle

Immediately stop your vehicle at the scene or as close to it as possible, making sure you are not obstructing traffic.

1. Apply the handbrake and switch off the engine.
2. Switch on the vehicle’s hazard warning lights.
3. Ensure your own safety first, put on your hi-vis vest before exiting the vehicle.
4. Ensure any passengers put their hi-vis vest on before getting out.
5. If the vehicle is on fire – get out immediately if it is safe to do so.
6. Help any injured people and call for assistance if needed.
7. Try to get the following information:
• details of the other vehicle(s) and registration number(s)
• name(s) and address(es) of the other vehicle owner(s) and driver(s)
• name(s) and address(es) of any witness(es)
• name(s) of insurer(s)
8. Give your name and address and company details.

If you damage another vehicle that is unattended, leave a note on the vehicle with your contact details.

Contact the Gardaí:

• if there are injuries
• if there is a disagreement over the cause of the crash
• if you damage property other than your own
• if damage to the vehicle looks to be substantial. Only move the vehicle if:
• Instructed to do so by a member of the emergency services
• It would be more dangerous to others keep it at its current location
• You know that the Gardaí have not been called to the scene
• Any damage is only slight and leaving the vehicle where it was would cause serious inconvenience to other road users
• It is safe to do so and you have already provided your name and address as well as the name and address of the vehicle’s owner, registration and insurance details.


If the vehicle cannot be driven arrangements must be made for its removal. All valuables should be secured. Follow-up with line manager
If there is an injury or major damage, report the crash to your manager as soon as you can.


In the event of a breakdown do not try to repair the vehicle. Contact the breakdown assistance provider (details should be in the vehicle’s glove-box)

1. Ensure nothing is done to endanger yourself or others
2. Make sure you and other passengers wear the hi-vis vests
3. Move passengers to the safest location – on motorways or other busy roads passengers should be taken onto the embankment as far away from the traffic as possible
4. Move the vehicle off the carriageway (onto the hard shoulder on a motorway) and
switch off the engine
5. Switch on the vehicle’s hazard warning lights
6. Phone the emergency services or breakdown service as appropriate. Make sure to give accurate location details. If on a Motorway use the emergency SOS telephone to call for help – this will accurately inform the Gardaí of your location

How the success of the policy will be measured

The success of this policy will be measured by the increase or decrease in:

1. the number of collisions involving company vehicles
2. the number of avoidable collisions involving company vehicles
3. the number of traffic infringements received
4. the costs of repairs and maintenance
5. other financial costs associated with vehicle use
6. the average cost of vehicle-related employee compensation claims.



(Since December 2017. Last updated December 2017.)

Ó Bhéal works with many communities as possible, including in disadvantaged areas, and has been expanding its outreach programme slowly but significantly. The Unfinished Book Project affords workshops and publication for five schools each year. Since 2012, poetry appreciation sessions have been held for the elderly every May in a number of retirement villages or care homes, for the Bealtaine festival. It worked for three years with ex-youth offenders. It intends to work with Direct Provision centres in 2018. Following its successful application in 2017 for EU funding under the Esasmus+ programme and its consequent involvement with four new European partners, Ó Bhéal has been funded to develop poetry-film workshops which are expandable, adaptable, portable and viable for a whole new dimension of outreach projects.


Garda Vetting Policy

(Since December 2017. Last updated December 2017.)

Policy Statement

Ó Bhéal is committed to the protection and welfare of young writers, as well as all children and vulnerable adults with whom it works. As part of this commitment, Ó Bhéal will comply with relevant legislation and recommended best practice in recruitment and selection procedures for both employees and volunteers, and will conduct Garda Vetting, where appropriate, as part of this process.


The purpose of this document is to provide information and guidance on Garda Vetting procedures within Ó Bhéal.


This policy applies to Ó Bhéal employees and volunteers who will carry out “relevant work” with children and/or vulnerable adults as defined in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012. (See Appendix) Responsibility for ensuring this policy is effectively implemented rests with Paul Casey, the director of Ó Bhéal and appointed GVO (Garda Vetting Officer). All other staff members and volunteers at Ó Bhéal are expected to facilitate and support the implementation of this policy.

Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) / National Vetting Bureau – is the national unit of the Garda Síochána which conducts vetting of applicants to ascertain whether applicants have prior convictions and / or prosecutions. The GCVU will be known as the “National Vetting Bureau” following the commencement of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 to 2016.

Garda Vetting: This is the process by which the GCVU discloses details regarding “all prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, and/or convictions” in respect of an individual and with that individual’s consent to their prospective employer and/or the organisations with which they wish to volunteer. (Please note, when the National Vetting Bureau Bill is commenced unsuccessful convictions may not be disclosed.)

Authorised Signatory/Liaison Person – is the person who is nominated to apply for and receive vetting disclosures on behalf of applicant organisations. The Authorised Signatory/Liaison Person may be nominated to act for a consortium of organisations (e.g. Volunteer Centre A.S.) or from a representative body for a group of organisations (e.g. NYCI). The Authorised Signatory will be known as the “Liaison Person” following the commencement of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 to 2016.

Natural Justice – There are essentially two sections to the Rules of Natural Justice, the first being derived from the Latin maximum “audi alteram partem” (let the other side be heard). This is the duty to allow persons affected by a decision to have a reasonable opportunity of presenting their case. The second part of the Rules of Natural Justice is derived from the Latin maxim “nema judex in causa sua” (no one can be the judge in his own cause). This gives rise to a duty to act fairly, to listen to arguments, and to reach a decision in a manner that is untainted by bias. (NUI, Galway)

Child – a person under the age of 18 years.

Vulnerable Adult – a person, other than a child who – Is suffering from a disorder of the mind, whether as a result of mental illness or dementia, Has an intellectual disability Is suffering from a physical impairment, whether as a result of injury, illness or age, or Has a physical disability, which is of such a nature or degree as to restrict the capacity of the person to guard himself or herself against harm by another person, or, that results in the person requiring assistance with the activities of daily living including dressing, eating, walking, washing and bathing.


Garda Vetting is just one of a number of elements that Ó Bhéal implements to ensure the protection and safety of the children and/or vulnerable adults in Ó Bhéal care. Appropriate recruitment screening (including interviews, reference checking), child protection and health and safety procedures, etc. will be implemented along with Garda Vetting.

An individual will not work / volunteer with children or vulnerable adults in Ó Bhéal until their Garda vetting has been completed and the results conveyed to the organisations Garda Vetting Officer by the Authorised Signatory / Liaison Person.

Having a criminal record will not automatically exclude an individual from employment/volunteering unless they relate to the offences outline in Section 10. Decisions on whether to involve an individual with prior criminal convictions will take into account:

the individuals abilities, skills , experiences and qualifications;
the nature of the conviction and its relevance to the job;
the length of time since the offence took place;
the risk to the service users, employees and organisation;
training which may have occurred since the time individual’s offence

Ó Bhéal will employ a Natural Justice framework in dealing with any disclosures of convictions.

Vetting Applications Process

All vetting applications for employment/volunteer roles with Ó Bhéal shall be processed by an Authorised Signatory/Liaison Person who is trained by the Garda Vetting Unit in the management of Vetting applications and disclosures. Ó Bhéal has appointed Cork Volunteer Centre to act as Authorised Signatory / Liaison Person on its behalf.

Ó Bhéal has nominated one Board Member to act as the ‘Garda Vetting Officer’ (GVO). The co-ordinator of The Unfinished Book of Poetry project, Ó Bhéal director Paul Casey facilitates creative writing at all ages and levels and works via Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools scheme. He has attended the child protection best practice and policy guidelines course provided by the Arts Council and Health Services Executive. In December 2017 he was appointed as the Garda Vetting Officer for Ó Bhéal via the Public Participation Network and the Cork Volunteer Centre. For more please refer to Ó Bhéal’s Garda Vetting Policy.The responsibilities of the GVO include:

Assessing when Garda vetting is necessary for each employment position/volunteer role i.e. the role involves “relevant work” with children or vulnerable adults as specified in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons Bill) 2012 to 2016.

Ensuring that candidates for employment positions/volunteer roles are provided with the correct Garda vetting forms and that the forms are completed accurately and in full, prior to submitting them to the Authorised Signatory.

Verifying the identity of the person submitting the vetting application by checking relevant ID (e.g. passport, driving licence)

Ensuring all personal information in relation to vetting is kept confidentially and in compliance with Data Protection legislation and best practice

That Ó Bhéal staff / volunteers are aware of the organisation’s Garda Vetting Policy.

Ó Bhéal will nominate 3 representatives from the staff / Board / Steering Committee to make up the “Garda Vetting Committee”. The responsibilities of the Committee includes:

Ensuring organisational compliance with the Garda Vetting policy
Assisting the Garda Vetting Officer to make decisions on the suitability of candidates following the disclosure of convictions via the Garda vetting process.

If the individual being vetted is over the age of 16 and under the age of 18, they are required to have a completed parent / guardian consent form which must be submitted along with their vetting application form.

Ó Bhéal will not accept historical vetting information from employment / volunteer candidates or from their previous employers / volunteer managers. Each new employer / volunteer must be vetted via the Ó Bhéal vetting process, even if engaging an individual already vetted elsewhere. Ó Bhéal will require all of its existing staff/volunteers to be re-vetted at regular intervals of __ (e.g. three) years

Vetting Disclosures Process

On return from the GCVU / National Vetting Bureau the forms will be processed by the nominated AS / Liaison Person who will inform Ó Bhéal Garda Vetting Officer by letter / email of the results.
The Authorised Signatory / Liaison Person will pass on a copy of any possible or probable convictions to the Garda Vetting Officer for their consideration, and this document will be held confidentially.

Where there are no convictions, an offer of a position of employment/voluntary role will be issued to the candidate in line with Ó Bhéal other screening/recruitment procedures.

Where serious convictions are disclosed, (for e.g. those itemised in 10.1 and 10.2) a letter will be sent to the person asking them to attend a meeting with the Vetting Officer/Committee . This letter must not disclose the information on the returned Garda Vetting form. The purpose of this meeting is to allow the applicant (employee / volunteer) access to the information returned by the GCVU / Vetting Bureau and to give them an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the conviction.

A written record of this meeting will be kept and the time, date and duration of the meeting recorded. At this meeting, Ó Bhéal will ensure that: Everyone, no matter what their history, is given fair and equal treatment and the right to state their case. Cognisance is of Repeat Offending, Restorative Justice and Rehabilitation of Offenders. A disclosure of conviction will not automatically preclude the applicant from obtaining the position in question. Cognisance is taken of the applicant’s self-disclosure or non-disclosure of a conviction at the time of the application and of their experience (work record etc.) and rehabilitation subsequent to any conviction disclosed.

Where multiple convictions are evident but may be as the result of a particular lifestyle, e.g., drug addiction, then the change in lifestyle must be taken into consideration.

Applicants who deny any convictions returned by the GCVU / Vetting Bureau will be provided with details on how to write a letter of appeal to amend their records at the GCVU / Vetting Bureau.
Applicants are informed that in the case of uncertainties their form will be returned to the GCVU / Vetting Bureau seeking clarification.

The applicants name and date of birth are clarified at the start of the meeting as mistakes may be made by the GCVU / Vetting Bureau where names and addresses are similar.

Ó Bhéal will consider each Garda Vetting form returned with convictions individually and Ó Bhéal will always treat the applicant with respect, dignity and complete confidentially.

Ó Bhéal recognises that there are three potential outcomes of the review meeting:

In line with this policy and taking all things into consideration including interview, current history and references, the applicant may be offered the position.

The applicants Garda Vetting form is returned to the GCVU for further clarification. In which case a second review meeting may be held.

The applicant is deemed unsuitable for the position on offer by nature of their history of offences.
In each case a written explanation of the outcome will be sent to the applicant by letter. A record of this letter, including date sent must be kept. A record of any replies received and any follow-up must also be kept.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

All information in the vetting process will be held in a manner consistent with the Ó Bhéal confidentiality policy. Ó Bhéal also complies fully with good practice regarding the secure storage, handling and use of the GCVU / Vetting Bureau disclosures and personal vetting information as per our Data Protection Policy and our legal obligations under Data Protection Legislation

Circumstances for the Withdrawal of the offer to Work / Volunteer.
Ó Bhéal considers the following as reasonable grounds to withdraw an offer or opportunity of employment / volunteer role to an individual:

The individual has been charged with, or convicted of a sexual offence;
The individual has been charged with, or has a conviction for, an offence that relates to the ill treatment of a child, or a vulnerable adult;
The individual has been charged with, or has a conviction for, the ownership, production or distribution of child pornography.

Ó Bhéal considers the following list of offences to be relevant, and each case will be considered in a case-by-case basis:

Offences against the person, e.g. assault, harassment, coercion;
Breaches in trust, e.g. fraud, theft, larceny;
Offences against property e.g. arson, armed robbery;
Domestic Violence;
Offences against the state.

Ó Bhéal is conscious of not initiating policies that prohibit needlessly against rehabilitated individuals. Such cases will be objectively determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the criteria outlines in 5.3.

Appeal Process

While the focus is on protecting children and vulnerable adults, there are also safeguards and due processes for those being vetted, including the right to appeal. Appeals should be made in writing to the authorised signatory within 14 days of issue of the decision.

Appendix to Garda Vetting Policy

Excerpt from Schedule 1, Part 1 and Part 2 from the National Vetting Bureau
(Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012.


Relevant work or activities relating to children:

1. Any work or activity which is carried out by a person, a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with, children in –

(a) an establishment which provides pre-school services within the meaning of Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991,
(b) a school or centre of education, both within the meaning of the Education Act 1998,
(c) any hospital or health care centre which receives, treats or otherwise provides services to children,
(d) a designated centre within the meaning of section 2 of the Health Act 2007, in so far as it relates to an institution at which residential services are provided in accordance with the Child Care Act 1991,
(e) a special care unit provided and maintained in accordance with section 23K of the Child Care Act 1991,
(f) a children detention school within the meaning of section 3 of the Children Act 2001.

2. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of home tuition by a person pursuant to the Scheme administered and funded by the Department of Education and known as the Home Tuition Scheme.

3. Any work or activity which consists of treatment, therapy or counselling provided to a child by a person in the course of that work or activity.

4. Any work or activity which consists of care or supervision of children unless the care or supervision is merely incidental to the care or supervision of persons who are not children.

5. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration) to children unless the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities is merely incidental to the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities to persons who are not children.

6. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of advice, guidance, developmental, or counselling services, (including by means of electronic interactive communications) to children unless the provision of the advice, guidance, developmental or counselling service is merely incidental to the provision of those services to persons who are not children.

7. Any work or activity as a minister or priest or any other person engaged in the advancement of any religious beliefs.

8. Work as a driver of a public service vehicle which is being used only for the purpose of conveying children.

9. The provision by a person, whether or not for commercial or other consideration, of accommodation for a child in his or her own home.

10. Any research work or activities (howsoever described) carried out in a university, institute of technology or other establishment at which third level education is provided where a necessary and regular part of the research work or activity involves contact with or access to children.

11. Any application by a person to carry on or manage a designated centre within the meaning of section 2 of the Health Act 2007.

12. Any application by a person for a declaration of eligibility and suitability within the meaning of section 3 of the Adoption Act 2010.

13. Any assessment of a person’s suitability to act as a foster carer by or under section 39 of the Child Care Act 1991.

14. Any assessment by or under section 41 of the Child Care Act 1991 of a person’s suitability to act as a carer of a child in respect of whom he or she is a relative.

15. Any work or activity which is carried on by a person, a necessary and regular part of which requires the person to have access to, or contact with, children pursuant to the following enactments:

(a) Medical Practitioners Act 2007;
(b) Nurses Act 1985;
(c) Nurses and Midwives Act 2011;
(d) Dentists Act 1985;
(e) Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005;
(f) Pharmacy Act 2007;
(g) Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council Order 2000 (S.I.No. 109 of 2000);
(h) Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (Establishment) Order 2000 (Amendment) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 575 of 2004).


Relevant work or activities relating to vulnerable persons:

1. Any work or activity which is carried out by a person, a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with, vulnerable persons in:

(a) a school or centre of education, both within the meaning of the Education Act 1998, unless, in the case of a centre of education, the work or activity is merely incidental to work or activities undertaken in relation to persons who are not vulnerable persons,
(b) any hospital or care centre which receives, treats or otherwise which provides services to vulnerable persons,
(c) a designated centre within the meaning of section 2 of the Health Act 2007, in so far as it relates to an institution at which residential services are provided to vulnerable persons,
(d) an approved centre within the meaning of Part 5 of the Mental Health Act 2001,
(e) any organisation or facility which provides educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration) for vulnerable persons,
(f) in any organisation or facility which provides welfare, advice, guidance, developmental, or counselling services for vulnerable persons.

2. Any work or activity which consists of treatment, therapy or counselling provided to a vulnerable person by a person in the course of that work or activity.

3. Any work or activity which consists of the care (including the provision of health and personal social services and essential domestic services) of vulnerable persons unless the care is merely incidental to the care of persons who are not vulnerable persons.

4. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration) to vulnerable persons unless the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities is merely incidental to the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities to persons who are not vulnerable persons.

5. Any work or activity which consists of the provision of advice, guidance, developmental, or counselling services, (including by means of electronic interactive communications) to vulnerable persons unless the provision of the advice, guidance, develop mental or counselling service is merely incidental to the provision of those services to persons who are not vulnerable persons.

6. Work as a driver of a public service vehicle which is being used only for the purpose of conveying vulnerable persons.

7. Any work or activity as a minister or priest or any other person engaged in the advancement of any religious beliefs.

8. The provision by a person, whether or not for commercial or other consideration, of accommodation for a vulnerable person in his or her own home.

9. Any research work or activities (howsoever described) carried out in a university, institute of technology or other establishment at which third level education is provided where a necessary and regular part of the research work or activity involves contact with or access to vulnerable persons.

10. Any assessment of a person’s suitability to act as a care representative under section 21 of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.

11. Any application by a person to carry on or manage a designated 10 centre both within the meaning of section 2 of the Health Act 2007.

12. Any work or activity which is carried on by a person, a necessary and regular part of which requires the person to have access to, or contact with, vulnerable persons pursuant to the following enactments:

(a) Medical Practitioners Act 2007;
(b) Nurses Act 1985;
(c) Nurses and Midwives Act 2011;
(d) Dentists Act 1985;
(e) Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005;
(f) Pharmacy Act 2007;
(g) Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (Establishment) Order 2000 (S.I. No. 109 of 2000);
(h) Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (Establishment) Order 2000


End of Document