Monday 5 December 2016

Department of Social Protection employee handed personal information to private investigator working for AIB, court hears

Published 04/02/2016 | 17:25

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A DEPARTMENT of Social Protection employee handed over personal information about an unemployed construction worker to a private investigator working for a bank, the High Court has heard.

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David Lannon, of Cope View, Deepford, Drogheda, Co Louth, claims his constitutional and European Convention rights were breached in August 2014 when someone in the Department gave unauthorised access to his private and confidential files to the investigator acting on behalf of AIB.

Mr Lannon is in dispute with the bank, and a case  between them is pending before the Circuit Court.

Arising out of the alleged information breach, he reported the matter to both the Data Protection Commissioner and the Department of Social Protection.

A criminal case, currently before the District Court, has been brought against the private investigator.  That case currently stands adjourned.

Mr Lannon said, in an affidavit, that arising out of his complaint, he is aware an employee of the Department is currently suspended on full pay. An internal investigation is underway, he says.

He contacted the Department  to check on the progress of the investigation and was told it takes time but he would be informed as soon as it is completed.

However, he fears AIB's court action against him will end before he gets the chance to complete his action against the Minister for Social Protection.

As a result, he has no option other than to come to court seeking various orders.

He seeks damages against the Minister.

He further seeks an order compelling the Minister to identify to him the person he says handed over the information to the investigator.

He also seeks an injunction preventing the Minister from deleting any material from the unnamed employee's computers, either the employee's own computer or the Department's main frame computer.

He further seeks an order allowing him inspect the computer and any other devices the employee had access to during daily duties.

The injunction application was made on a one-side only represented basis before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan.

The judge granted Mr Lannon permission to serve the proceedings at short notice on the Minister and adjourned the matter for a week.

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