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Justice Minister Helen McEntee Sam Boal
Data Retention

Justice Minister to introduce new legislation on data retention to help Gardaí

Justice Minister Helen McEntee received approval of Cabinet to draft the legislation to amend the law.

JUSTICE MINISTER HELEN McEntee is set to have revised legislation passed before the summer recess that will amend the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011.

The revised legislation is in response to the recent judgements by the European Court of Justice as well as the legal challenge taken by convicted murder Graham Dwyer.

McEntee received approval of Cabinet to draft the legislation to amend the law.

In a statement this evening, the Department of Justice said that the “proposed legislation is without prejudice to the State’s current appeal to the Supreme Court of a High Court ruling relating to the Act”.

Speaking after Cabinet, McEntee said that the decision now allowed for work to reflect the impact of recent European Court of Justice judgements.

“While I do not want to comment on the specifics of cases which are before the courts, I have been clear that I do not want a situation where An Garda Síochána have their hands tied behind their backs,” said McEntee.

“Access to telecommunications data has become ever more important for the detection, investigation and prosecution of crime and for safeguarding the security of the State.

An Garda Síochána do hugely important work to keep us all safe, to investigate criminals and to ensure justice is done.

“They must be fully equipped with strong laws and modern technology to fight crime and keep us safe.”

McEntee said that Gardaí require access to data to do their jobs and that “there are occasions when the interests of public safety, fighting crime and national security must override the absolute right to privacy”.

“There should always be safeguards and protections when it comes to accessing data, but we must not allow the balance to shift too far away from keeping people safe and fighting crime.”

The proposed legislation will have two parts, the first providing for amendments to current rules around general and indiscriminate retention of data from phones and internet communications for “national security purposes”.

The second part will allow for new Garda orders to be brought in, which will add additional capacity to the Gardaí to secure and access all forms of data for investigating specific criminal investigations.

According to the Department, ‘Preservation Orders’ will require specific electronic data that is connected with specific persons, locations or other indicators like mobile phone numbers, to be preserved.

A second order, to be known as a ‘Production Order’ will require “the gathering and submission of specified data in a person’s possession or control to An Garda Síochána”.

Comments closed due to references to ongoing legal proceedings

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