Group meets to review data sharing


A HIGH-LEVEL group of public servants tasked with reviewing data protection legislation met for the first time yesterday.

The group, to be known as the Data Sharing Clearing House, will develop principles for the sharing of data and will review all relevant legislative provision in relation to data-sharing between public bodies.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who has responsibility for ensuring the €100 household charge is implemented, this week said data protection legislation would be changed if required to secure collection.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance stressed the formation of the group pre-dated Mr Hogan’s announcement and was established to fulfil a commitment in the public service reform programme announced by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin last November.

The group will consult interested parties to ensure their concerns feed into the development of central policy and legislation on data-sharing and ensure existing guidelines in the area are effectively promoted. New guidance will be produced where required.

On Sunday, Mr Hogan said if there were any difficulties in securing the information needed for the household charge, the Government would turn its attention to legislative change to ensure the charge could be collected.

He said he expected to establish an agreement with the Data Protection Commission shortly to allow use of information from utility bills which would make change in the law unnecessary.