Prior to the Cabinet meeting this morning, the significant issue of the day was the extraordinary and gigantic criminal offence that has occurred and which concerns, we are told, up to 1.1 million people. It is probably the largest ever offence in terms of affecting so many people in the State. The hacking into the personal financial data of so many people is a very worrying development. Credit card details have patently been compromised and some banks have confirmed that not only was the information hacked into by criminals but also that fraudulent transactions have occurred as a result. To date, we do not have a strong sense of the scale of this from the Data Protection Commissioner. The office is doing its best and its website indicates that up to 376,000 people on the systems of Loyaltybuild had their credit card details stolen and the financial details of 150,000 clients have potentially been compromised. It has added to that information in more recent times and this morning there was worse news.
Who is in charge of this in the Government? If one looks at the various government websites, there is an extraordinary absence of any sense of somebody being in charge of this key area. The silence of the Minister for Justice and Equality on this has been deafening but he would say that child abuse on the Internet has been his Department's primary concern in the context of cybercrime. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is not taking possession of the ball in respect of this issue. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, has said that consumers who lost money as a result of the hacking are entitled to get their money back. Can the Tánaiste confirm that the Government is taking steps, with the companies and banks involved, to ensure that consumers will get their money back? What steps will the Government take to ensure that people's personal and financial details are absolutely secure? The Government is encouraging people to do all their transactions online. What has happened over the last few days and what has been revealed, and I believe more will be revealed as I do not think the full scale of this has yet been articulated in public, will shatter people's confidence in online banking transactions.
Banking crime is nothing new, but what we are now witnessing is faceless criminals who need not resort to armed robberies anymore but who can rob hundreds of thousands of people by breaching data and hacking into various systems. It is urgent that the Government indicates it has a grip on this issue.