IE: Alan Shatter begins appeal over Data Commissioner finding

RTÉ News reports:

Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has begun an appeal against a decision of the Data Protection Commissioner that he breached the Data Protection Act.

The Commissioner found Mr Shatter breached the act by disclosing information about Independent TD Mick Wallace on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme last year.

Lawyers for the former minister told the Circuit Civil Court that the decision by the Data Protection Commissioner was characterised by a number of serious errors.

In the programme, broadcast on 16 May last year, Mr Shatter suggested during a discussion on An Garda Siochana, that Deputy Wallace had benefitted from members of the gardaí using their discretion when he was found using his mobile phone while driving.

Mr Wallace complained to the Data Protection Commissioner.

Read more on RTÉ News. The key to this may be in this:

Mr Shatter says the information about Mr Wallace was given to him orally by the then Garda Commissioner when no other person was present.  He said he did not make any written note of what he was told and retained the information solely in his head.

If that’s the case, then did the Data Protection Act even apply? It would seem he is arguing that it does not. But then, did the Garda Commissioner breach the DPA? What if there was never a written record of Wallace’s interaction(s) run-in(s) with the gardai?

Over here, this type of leak would be considered politics as usual, and would likely be justified as the public having a right to know about a candidate for public office. What a difference a few thousand miles makes….

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  1. Anonymous - November 4, 2014

    It’s important to note that Mr Wallace was never charged with an offence, still less convicted of one.

    In essence, what former Minister for Justice Shatter is claiming in his appeal is that he had the right to publicly disclose confidential police intelligence, which was given to him in his official ministerial capacity, in an attempt to discredit a political opponent. J Edgar Hoover would have been proud of him . . .

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