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The Floating Voter: Sinn Féin leader must answer questions on possibility of 'Cold War'-like voter database

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mary Lou McDonald should answer “detailed questions” on Sinn Féin’s internal voter database to ensure her party is not carrying out “Cold War” like profiling of Irish citizens, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly has said.

Mr Kelly said revelations about Sinn Féin’s Abú system posed serious questions for Ms McDonald.

Speaking on Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast, the Tipperary TD said: “I think Mary Lou McDonald needs to come out front and face questions in relation to this - very detailed questions.”

“Effectively we need to know if we have a political party that's building a national database on individuals. This would strike back to stuff that was done in the bad times during the Cold War where there was a profile being done on every individual in the country and that would be really scary stuff,” Mr Kelly added.

Sinn Féin has refused to answer questions about where they are storing the information of potentially 3.5m voters, who is managing the system or how the database was funded.

The party has also refused to give any detail on how they have complied with data protection laws in creating a national voter database.

Details of the Abú system came after Independent.ie revealed Sinn Féin representatives were encouraged to “elicit” information from Facebook users which could be cross-referenced with their internal database to locate home addresses of potential supporters.

“I have never heard at a national level that a party is actually profiling every citizen in the State. If information is being stored by a constituency TD, for instance, and that information is being shared to a national system well then that is cause for serious concern,” Mr Kelly said.

“We don't have enough information and Sinn Féin have to answer questions as to whether this is within data protection law, within GDPR. Why is some of this potentially being stored outside the country,” he added.

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