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Thursday 8 June 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
# agsi
Minister McEntee: Gardaí will not have their 'hands tied' by Dwyer judgement
Minister for Justice was speaking at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors conference in Killarney.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Helen McEntee has said that she will not allow the Graham Dwyer phone data ruling to stop gardaí detecting serious crime. 

The Minister also said that the Irish Government are working on legislation to counter the Graham Dwyer phone data case.

Earlier this month the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) had ruled that EU law does not support holding data of electronic communications indiscriminately for the purpose of combating serious crime in a case taken by convicted murderer Graham Dwyer.

Dwyer can use the Supreme Court’s ruling in an appeal against his conviction.

In its ruling, the CJEU confirmed that EU law precludes the general and indiscriminate retention of traffic and location data relating to electronic communications for the purposes of combating serious crime.

It found that Ireland’s Communications Act 2011 is inconsistent with EU law. 

In her first comments since the ruling McEntee said she would not allow criminals to get the upper hand in such investigations.  

“I would say this, I don’t think An Garda Síochána or any police force should have their hands tied behind their backs when it comes to fighting crime or when it comes to defending crime or putting criminals behind bars.

“It’s important that there are safeguards, yes, it’s important that people’s privacy is protected, people’s personal data is protected.

“At the same time we need to make sure that there’s no ability for individuals and criminals to hide behind that,” she said. 

 McEntee explained that she was conscious of the right to privacy but said that this should not trump the ability of law enforcement to detect crime.  

The new legislation is already being worked on by the Attorney General and will be presented to Government shortly. 

“I didn’t want to do and what has happened in other countries where legislation was introduced and then had to be changed. That’s already happened in other countries. So I can assure people that we are already working on new legislation,” she explained.