Volunteer Application FAQ


Q: What are the different steps to making an application to volunteer with Special Olympics Ireland?


The steps will vary according to your age category and whether you are living/volunteering in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. The common steps are:

a) complete an online application which primarily includes contact details, referee details and your volunteering preference

b) complete online training

c) fill in relevant forms specific to age and jurisdiction for the purposes of a police background check

d) submit a photo


Q: How old do I have to be to apply to become a Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer?


You need to be at least 15 years old to become a Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer.


Q: Why do you need referee details from me?


In line with safeguarding best practice, we need the details of 2 people who can provide objective references as to an applicant’s suitability to volunteer with Special Olympics Ireland. Volunteers play a vital role in facilitating Special Olympics Ireland athletes to train and compete in sport. For this reason, we need to ensure that volunteers can fulfil volunteer roles independently, effectively, to take instruction from others and be team players.


Q: I have been Garda Vetted already as I am a teacher and I volunteer in the local equestrian club. Do I have to be Garda Vetted again?


Yes. Vetting portability is not a possibility within the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.


Q: Why do I have to be Garda Vetted?


Special Olympics Ireland has, for many years, required volunteer applicants on the island of Ireland, to be vetted by the relevant authorities to comply with best practice on safeguarding children and vulnerable persons. From 29th April 2016, it is a legal requirement for persons who wish to work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults, to be Garda Vetted and have resulting disclosures reviewed before they can begin such work or volunteer activities.


Q: I am 16 or 17, do I complete the same type of Garda Vetting online as someone who is 18 or over?


Constitutionally, a 16 or 17 year old applying for Garda Vetting has to first submit the consent of his/her parent/guardian before an request for Garda Vetting application


Q: How will I know if I have completed everything to become a volunteer and have been accepted by Special Olympics Ireland?


You will receive a membership card and welcome letter in the post.


Q: How will I know if my police background check has been processed?


If you are living in Northern Ireland and have applied for an Enhanced Disclosure, you will be able to track your application through AccessNI’s online system. You will also be sent a certificate from AccessNI.

If you have applied for Garda Vetting in the Republic of Ireland, you will be able to view, on the NVB online system, when your disclosure has been viewed.


Q: If I get interrupted while filling in my Online Registration, can I go back in and edit it at a later date?


No, the Online Registration needs to be completed in a single sitting


Q: If I get interrupted while filling in my Online Garda Vetting Form, can I go back in and edit it at a later date?


No the system times out after one hour.