Thursday, 20 January 2011
Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009: Committee and Remaining Stages
Peter Power (Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
In this matter the designated judge has a broad role with wide-ranging powers and, with this in mind, the Minister feels it would be an imposition or potential interference with the judge's role to specify at this level what issue he should consider or what actions he might take. The designated judge must keep the operation of this Act under review, ascertain if the State bodies are complying with its provisions, investigate any case in which a disclosure request is made and may access and inspect any official documentation relating to that request. The designated judge must also compile a report concerning the operation of the Act and can report to the Taoiseach on any matters he considers necessary.
Under section 8(7) of the Interception Act 1993, the Taoiseach is obliged to lay a copy of the report before both Houses of the Oireachtas. If a breach of the operation of the Act is identified, the Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice and Law Reform can draw the attention of the Garda Commissioner, the Revenue Commissioners or the Chief of Staff of the Permanent Defence Forces to the breach. The breach will then be investigated and dealt with through the normal disciplinary procedures within those organisations which are already in place. Disciplinary procedure policy and a code of conduct for members of each of these organisations already exist and the Minister does not see the need to require the designated judge to refer individuals for the purposes of having disciplinary proceedings instituted. As such, the Minister is not minded to accept the amendment.