Wednesday, 17 December 2014
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.