Seanad debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Data Protection Act 2018: Motion


10:30 am

Photo of Paul GavanPaul Gavan (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I do not believe I have formally congratulated the Minister of State, Deputy Calleary, on his promotion, and I want to do so now. I wish him well in his job. We will miss him on the Council of Europe but I am sure that Fianna Fáil will appoint someone equally as dedicated as he was over the time.

I am happy to support this motion on behalf of Sinn Féin. We are happy to see the support for approval of these regulations. The technical changes ensure that data protection regulations do not hinder the work of important functions of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Corporate Enforcement Agency, and the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority. Indeed, it has been made clear that issues around data protection regulations can have a detrimental effect on ongoing or potential investigations and on the enforcement of law. Without introducing these new regulations, these agencies are also at risk of fines or are liable for damages under the current legislation.

Of course we want people's rights to data privacy to continue to be protected, but it is also important that data protection rights do not undermine the work of these agencies. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is a statutory body responsible for promoting compliance with and enforcing competition and consumer protection law in Ireland, as well as providing information to consumers about their rights, personal finance, and product safety. The commission's work in protecting consumer rights is as important as protecting data privacy rights, and is the right thing to do to ensure that balance is struck, and to ensure that abuse of the privacy legislation does not hinder the protection of other rights.

Similarly, the work of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, IAASA, and the Corporate Enforcement Authority, must also be uninhibited by this legislative gap. The IAASA is responsible for the supervision of the accounting profession in Ireland, with oversight of statutory auditors, monitoring approval and registration, continuing education, quality assurance systems, and investigative and administrative disciplinary systems.

The Corporate Enforcement Authority functions include enforcing and encouraging compliance with company law, investigating suspected offences under the Companies Act, prosecuting detected breaches of the Companies Act, referring cases to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecution on indictment, and exercising a supervisory role over the activities of liquidators and receivers. In short, Sinn Féin is happy to support this motion.


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