Garda Tom O’Sullivan yesterday told delegates at the closing session of the GRA’s annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, that the whole interpreter system needs to be overhauled.
Mr O’Sullivan said that in many cases agencies had hired interpreters after a short interview over the phone and without asking for a CV from them. Interpreters do not have to have any academic qualifications or accreditation. While those working for the Garda are vetted for a criminal record in Ireland, their backgrounds in their home countries are not checked.
The GRA said it has no idea if the people it is using are criminals and in many cases they have very poor English. It could not rule out the possibility that foreign gangs operating here had “planted” its own members to work as interpreters.
“The system does not have the safeguards to ensure that doesn’t happen,” Mr O’Sullivan said.