The head of a leading children's charity has welcomed the introduction of legislation to regulate how those working with children are vetted.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said the new law would underpin what had, until now, only been a voluntary vetting process.

Mr Finlay welcomed the fact that so-called "soft information" can now be included in a garda file on someone who is being vetted to work with children or vulnerable adults.

"Vetting at the moment consists of a trawl through a person's police record. You supply information to the gardaí, that information is checked against whatever records the gardaí hold of convictions, and you're vetted on that basis.

"Now it will be possible for a limited amount of what is known as bona fides specified information to be gathered by the gardaí and held on file."

He said bona fides information could, for example, include a HSE investigation about someone who is regarded as posing a possible risk to children.

The person being vetted would have the right to be told and would have a right to appeal.

Mr Finlay said, however, that it was of concern that unregistered childminders will not be vetted, which he said was a "missed opportunity".

He also said the Garda Vetting Bureau needed more resources.