Thursday, 20 January 2011
Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009: Committee and Remaining Stages
Peter Power (Limerick East, Fianna Fail)
It is very important the Senator made that point. The provision confers significant powers on State organisations. We know from our history that unless those powers are monitored and regulated correctly, they can only lead to abuse. Cases involving previous Members of this House spring to mind in that respect.
With regard to discipline, the Minister would prefer if the individual organisations used their existing disciplinary procedures once a matter is brought to light. The key point concerns how a matter is brought to light. The High Court judge will certainly have the power to bring a matter to light by publication to the Taoiseach or Minister for Justice and Law Reform. If any abuse of powers amounted to a criminal offence or a breach of one's constitutional rights, it would give rise to potential avenues to discipline the guilty party through civil or criminal law. The feeling is that discipline is best left to the disciplinary mechanisms within the individual organisations, provided there is a mechanism to convey the relevant information to the most senior persons in those organisations. I understand where the Senator is coming from.