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Dublin: 1 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020

'Large number of complaints' to Data Protection Commissioner over abortion message calls

Listen to a full recording of the message…

Image: sergign via Shutterstock

THE OFFICE OF the Data Protection Commissioner has received a “large number of complaints” about automated calls being made to Irish phones about Ireland’s laws on abortion.

A spokesperson for the office told that the issue is being followed up “as a matter of priority today”.

The call, being made from a Dublin number, claims to have a message from Eamon O’Dwyer, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynaecology at NUI Galway. The caller says that Irish doctors do not put mothers’ lives at risk and are always obliged to intervene to save the woman’s life, even if that results in the unfortunate death of an unborn child.

The automated recording also mentions the recent death of a young woman in Galway but does not name Savita Halappanavar.

It is not known who is behind the message and calls, or how many people have received them. The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at NUI Galway told that it was not aware of the calls and there has been no indication that O’Dwyer has given permission for his name to be used.

Listen to a full recording of the call here:

Solicitor Simon McGarr blogged about automatic phone calls yesterday, advising people about a European Parliament directive concerning automated calling systems without intervention.

He said that as the calls do not seem to fall within the political communication exception (they are not from any recognised political party, candidate or candidate for election), each call complained about could potentially attract an individual criminal conviction or fine.

Read: ‘Unsolicited’ abortion-related calls being made to Irish phones>

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