Seanad debates

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Adjournment Matters

Communications Surveillance

2:55 pm

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

As I have made clear, this is a topic which the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised. I have given an indication of the general principles which would be behind such a discussion. Clearly, the Minister would be in a position to give more detail. It is important to reiterate that there is no question of any form of mass surveillance taking place in this jurisdiction. I have made it very clear that lawful interception takes place on a very strict basis with very clear guidelines in place, and for the limited purposes of combatting serious crime or to protect the security of the State.

I have said what legislation applies and that it is overseen by a judge of the High Court. It is sometimes a necessary tool for states and everybody would understand that. We will make it clear in any discussions at any level with all relevant people that, as is the case in this jurisdiction, there has to be a solid legal base which is proportionate to the aim to be achieved. I have already said that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised these concerns with the UK. We will consistently, at every level, reiterate our belief that the principles I have outlined should apply to all decisions taken in this area.

Comments

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Posted on 17 Mar 2015 12:48 am (This comment has been reported to moderators)

When Frances Fitzgerald mentions there is "no question" of mass surveillance, this is the exact same as in every other statement made by the Minister. The question should be asked: Is there mass surveillance or not?

Stating there is "no question" can be interpreted in the literal sense? Further clarity in this issue is obviously needed.

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