Media gets legal advice over accessing of journalists’ phones

Move follows concern over development in Garda watchdog inquiry on possible leaks

Some of the State’s largest media organisations are taking legal advice on how they can establish whether their journalists’ telephone records have been accessed in the course of investigations by State agencies.

It follows growing disquiet over the accessing of two journalists' mobile phone records during a Garda Síochána Ombudsman (GSOC) investigation into suspected leaks from the Garda. The journalists were not under investigation and their records were accessed without their knowledge.

There are at least seven other inquiries under way by GSOC and the Garda into the leaking of information to the media.

Stricter rules

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform


Brendan Howlin

yesterday said the stricter rules in Britain should be examined with a view to implementation in the Republic. They involved a judge reviewing every application for accessing journalists’ records. Independent News & Media has already said it believes journalist Conor Feehan, a senior reporter with the Herald, had his phone accessed last year as part of GSOC’s inquiry into information allegedly disclosed about the 2007 death of model

Katy French

(24) and related matters.

Well-placed sources said the group was taking legal advice.

The Sunday Times and RTÉ, among others, are also expected to take action to attempt to establish if their journalists' phone records have been accessed.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times