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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

Here's what Enda Kenny and 6 ministers said about security sweeps at their offices

Some were more forthcoming than others…

AS THE GSOC bugging saga continues this week, a retired judge has been appointed to investigate claims and Alan Shatter told the Dáil there is “no evidence at all” that the Garda Ombudsman’s headquarters were bugged.

In keeping with the general theme, TD Noel Harrington asked the Taoiseach and a number of ministers about any sweeps for surveillance or bugging equipment at their departmental and ministerial offices.

Here’s what they said:

Taoiseach Enda Kenny


(Image: Julien Behal/PA)

Security is kept under review on an ongoing basis. It is not customary to comment on the details of specific security measures.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore


(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

It is not policy to comment on or provide details concerning security matters of this nature. My Department’s security arrangements are kept under regular review, including security arrangements for premises and telecommunications.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin


(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

In response to the deputy’s question I can confirm that no office in my department has been swept for electronic or any other type of surveillance or bugging equipment since the formation of this government.

Minister for Education Rúairí Quinn


(Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

My department has not engaged any external contractors or other experts to conduct any surveillance/bugging checks of ministerial and/or departmental offices in the period referred to by the deputy.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton


(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

The department hasn’t conducted any sweep for surveillance devices in its offices since I took up office in March 2011.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan


(Image: Brian Lawless/PA)

My department has not carried out a sweep or other check for surveillance or bugging equipment. For completeness, I wish to advise the deputy that my department carries out periodic assessments of its ICT systems and infrastructure as part of its management of ICT security issues and engages external ICT systems security support to supplement its internal resources in this area.

My department deploys industry leading security hardware and software systems to identify and eliminate malware, viruses, trojans, worms and other forms of electronic threat and ensures its systems are subject to systematic security update.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan


(Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

My department is aware of the importance of maintaining security given the commercially sensitive meetings held in the department and the sensitive information held by the department. In the interests of security, key offices and meeting rooms within my department have been swept for monitoring devices from time to time. No concerns have been raised on the basis of these sweeps.

Read: Shatter on GSOC – ‘”my only interest is that we get at the truth”>

Read: Verrimus ‘stand by’ the evidence in their original GSOC report>

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