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Tax official used data on woman to proposition her

A REVENUE officer accessed a woman's confidential information with a view to 'propositioning' her.

The case against the official was investigated by the Data Protection Commissioner.

The incident happened after the man, who was married, saw the woman at a Revenue office.

He accessed confidential information about her at the office, including her birthday, which he then used to make an unwanted sexual advance.

The woman made a complaint under data-protection laws but did not wish to be identified.

Deputy commissioner Gary Davis yesterday confirmed that an investigation had taken place. He said that after the facts had been established the consequences for the official were "very severe" -- but he could not say if he was fired.

Mr Davis praised the Revenue Commissioners and said that they were a model for best practice in data protection.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that 23 Revenue employees have recently faced "serious disciplinary action" -- including being sacked.

At least 10 officials had their salaries slashed by up to €11,000 each after being found guilty of misconduct.


Management recently sent a circular to staff, warning of serious sanctions against anyone who breaks the rules.

In one example, a male employee was discovered to have "inappropriately accessed" tax records of dozens of friends and family members. It was understood that they wanted to establish if they were entitled to a tax refund.

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The man had his salary reduced and was barred from promotion.

Meanwhile, the Data Protection Commissioner is to launch a widescale audit into the use of private information by gardai. The inquiry will take a detailed look at how officers have been using and accessing the garda PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) computing system.

The system contains information such as criminal records and prisoner details about individuals. The office of the commissioner will investigate whether it has been used for garda purposes only.

Starting in three weeks, data protection officials will visit garda HQ in the Phoenix Park along with individual garda stations.

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