Fianna Fáil will shortly publish legislation to prohibit local authorities from handing over tenant data to Irish Water without the consent of the tenant.

It has emerged that a number of local authorities have written to councillors in recent days to advise that tenant data has been handed over to Irish Water. The government has made it a legal requirement under the Water Services Act 2013 for local authorities to hand over sensitive tenant data to Irish Water upon demand.

The legislation being brought forward by Fianna Fáil will amend the Water Services Act 2013 to make it a legal requirement for local authorities to have the consent of the people concerned before any information is exchanged.

Deputy Sean Fleming commented, “A number of local authorities have written to councillors in recent days to advise that tenant information has been handed over to Irish Water. The information is being handed over without the consent of tenants and little to no consultation is taking place with the locally elected councillors.

“In the case of Wexford County Council the details of over 4,000 local authority tenants was handed over to despite councillors having already passed a motion prohibiting the council from handing over tenant data to Irish Water. However the information was passed over as the government made it a legal requirement under the Water Services Act 2013 for local authorities to pass on the information to Irish Water.

“Fianna Fáil is opposed to the practice of local authorities handing over sensitive tenant data to Irish Water. During the debate on the Water Services Bill 2013 we voted to deny access to data requests by Irish Water. Semi-state companies in Ireland are not entitled to seek tenant data from local authorities and no exception should be made for Irish Water.

“The legislation we are bringing forward will amend Section 26 of the Water Services Act 2013 to ensure that tenant information is not handed over to the council without the consent of the people concerned.

“It is unacceptable that Irish Water is extracting sensitive information from local authorities without the consent of either the individual concerned or elected representatives. The situation is inherently undemocratic and the practice of handing over information without consent must end,” said Deputy Fleming.