Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has accused the Government of paying lip service to Data Protection issues after the Taoiseach confirmed today he has finally assigned Minister Dara Murphy to the Department of Justice.

Deputy Collins said: “This was a major oversight in the Government reshuffle in the summer and has resulted in there being no Minister directly responsible for this important policy area since July.  There has been significant concern over the collection of PPS numbers by Irish Water as well as ongoing Data Protection issues that have not been addressed.

“Dara Murphy was appointed Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection in July but was not formally assigned to the Department of Justice where this policy area is administered until now which leads me to seriously question the Government’s commitment to this policy area.  Ireland has become the world’s digital hub and as such it needs to put in place the best data protection practices not only in Europe but in the world.

“Last month the Government announced the appointment of Helen Dixon as the new Data Protection Commissioner.  This was a very welcome appointment and follows the retirement of Billy Hawkes from the position.  This is a very important public service role given the presence of major players in the global digital marketplace in Ireland and given the sensitive nature of the personal data collected and stored by many organisations.”