independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Garda privacy 'needs discussing'

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore called for a 'wider discussion' about privacy following Justice Minister Alan Shatter's disclosures

Confidential garda information about an individual should not be made public unless the person has been charged, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has claimed.

While Mr Gilmore defended his cabinet colleague Justice Minister Alan Shatter over his use of garda information against Independent TD Mick Wallace, he said the issue of privacy needs to be discussed.

"There is an issue in relation to privacy and I think that's an issue that probably requires a longer and wider discussion, and is probably an issue that will be addressed by an Oireachtas committee," Mr Gilmore said.

"Issues that An Garda Siochana are dealing with should not come out into the public domain unless there is an actual charge, either through the media or any other way."

Mr Shatter on Tuesday stopped short of apologising to Mr Wallace after revealing on television that he had been stopped by gardai using a mobile phone while driving but was not prosecuted.

He said he would say sorry if the former builder felt personally wronged by remarks he made during an on-air TV debate last week. The minister claimed he had acted in the public interest.

The pair have repeatedly clashed over whether gardai should be allowed to use their discretion in quashing minor motoring offences or fixed charges.

Mr Shatter said he had been given the information on Mr Wallace by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a special briefing.

The Wexford TD has lodged complaints with the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) and the Data Protection Commission.

Mr Shatter has faced down continued calls for his resignation following the remarks, but the Tanaiste has now joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny in defending his actions, albeit while raising questions over the need for privacy.

Press Association

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