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Approximately 300 complaints over abortion robo-calls

The Data Protection Commissioner has continued to receive complaints about the automated phone calls but says it may be unable to take action.

THE DATA PROTECTION Commissioner (DPC) has said that it has now received in the region of 300 complaints over the automated calls being made to Irish people about the country’s abortion laws.

Having initially been able to shut down the phone number that was making the calls, the unsolicited phone calls resumed yesterday evening with the DPC continuing to receive complaints about them this morning.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner told this morning that it now appears as if the calls may be coming from outside the jurisdiction which could make it harder for anything to be done about them.

“We did shut down a line yesterday but it appears that they are obviously using other means, like a web of being able to use different lines,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are liaising with ComReg [the communications regulator] to try and get it shut down but it now appears that the calls may be coming from outside our jurisdiction. So it’s hard to know what we can do.”

She added that the DPC was “working actively” with the communications regulator to try and get the number or numbers shut down as well as dealing with the “huge volume” of complaints.

“It’s a huge volume on one complaint for us to receive in,” she said adding that the office was now assessing the complaints and contacting complainants with follow-up questions to establish a case.

Under law it is illegal to direct a marketing campaign to people who have not consented to receive calls while the DPC can level fines of up to €5,000 per call.

The call in question 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.


Have you received one of these calls? What do you think of them? Let us know in the comments

Read: Automated calls regarding abortion resume – reports

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Hugh O'Connell

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