Shatter rejects claim he is attempting to gag whistleblowers

Minister says Garda Pulse system `should in no circumstances be used as some sort of social network’

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is important to ensure individuals who have done no wrong should not have their privacy violated by information appearing in the public domain that could unfairly damage their reputation. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is important to ensure individuals who have done no wrong should not have their privacy violated by information appearing in the public domain that could unfairly damage their reputation. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 21:40

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has rejected a charge by Socialist TD Clare Daly that he is attempting to “gag whistleblowers”, and he accused her of not being able to distinguish between her own right to privacy and that of other people.

Mr Shatter told the AGSI annual conference on Monday that it was important to ensure individuals who have done no wrong should not have their privacy violated by information appearing in the public domain that could unfairly damage their reputation.

“The [Pulse] system . . . should in no circumstances be used as some sort of social network to be accessed out of curiosity by members of the force in circumstances in which such access has no real connection with their duties or work in which they are engaged.”

He said Ms Daly had made complaints to the Data Protection Commissioner and to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission concerning the details of her recent arrest being leaked to the media.

“It is unfortunate that Deputy Clare Daly does not seem to recognise that other people have the same rights as her.

“Unfortunately she doesn’t seem able, or willing, to differentiate between her rights and the rights of other individuals in the context of the recent activity of the Buswells Four, which also includes Deputies Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Luke Ming Flanagan, in the naming of certain individuals with the implication that these individuals were guilty of wrongdoing in advance of the conclusion of any investigation on the matter.”