Garda Commissioner seeks return of documents from PAC chairman

Martin Callinan believes information given by whistleblower contained personal data

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness received a number of documents from one of the penalty point whistleblowers last month. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness received a number of documents from one of the penalty point whistleblowers last month. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 07:52

The Garda Commissioner and Data Protection Commissioner have written to the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John McGuinness, seeking the return of documents he received relating to the cancellation of penalty points.

In his letter Martin Callinan said he believed the documents, provided to John McGuinness by one of two whistleblowers, and understood to have been taken from the Garda Pulse system, contained personal data and he was concerned there had been a data breach.

“I am of the view that these files containing personal data are files which I am responsible for and accordingly should be returned,” the commissioner said.

Mr McGuinness received a number of documents from one of the penalty point whistleblowers last month which allegedly relate to extent of the revenue loss to the State due to the improper cancellation of penalty point notices.

The documents were forwarded unopened by Mr McGuinness to the Oireachtas legal department for advice on whether the committee could accept the records as part of an examination of the systems and controls used by gardaí around the cancellation of penalty points.

The issue is due to be discussed by the committee today when a written response to the commissioner will be issued.

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