Gardai get access to European DNA data
GARDAI are to be given new powers to allow them carry out searches of DNA databases in other EU states for criminal investigations.
In return, other police forces will to able to look through the databank here. The searching of samples will be carried out on anonymous data.
But if there is a 'hit', further inquiries can be pursued through the existing mutual assistance deal, already agreed by EU governments. This will allow additional information on the samples to be exchanged.
Data protection requirements currently prevent the searches on a reciprocal basis, after the database here is up and running. But Justice Minister Dermot Ahern revealed yesterday that he was working with his advisers on how those requirements should be met and said he hoped to tackle the issue shortly.
He pointed out that access to the databases of other EU member states had the potential to be very useful, given the international mobility of criminals.
A section of the new Forensic Evidence and DNA Database Bill, which was debated by the Dail yesterday, deals with international reciprocal sampling.
Mr Ahern said that setting up a DNA database was the major innovation in the bill as it would ensure that the gardai could take full advantage of DNA technology in detecting crime.
The Irish Human Rights Commission yesterday called for stronger human rights protection for people, affected by the bill's provisions. It said more safeguards were needed to ensure the bill did not give rise to violations of human rights.