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Tony O'Malley Everywhere

Technology, Diaries and Electronics

ONE OF THE TOPICS covered in the Mass Communications and Culture course in Tipperary Institute concerns the role played by government in the field of communications. Most students expect the government to aid communications. It surprises them to hear how the Irish government monitors communications as well.

Since April 2002, Ireland has had a data retention regime. It came hand-in-hand with the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005. The previous regime had been brought in on foot of a ministerial order, by the Minister for Communications, at the request of the Minister for Justice ( has more details).

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner challenged the minister’s authority to bring in such a law. He cited legal advice that it contravened Art. 15.2.1 of the constitution which said that only the Oireachtas has the power to make laws. Nothing has occurred to reverse the Minister of Justice's position.