Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (81)

Seán Sherlock


81. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason the client identification service has been halted; when it will be rectified under the Data Protection Act 2018; and when co-operation will be re-established between agencies. [29935/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I am assuming that the question relates to the cooperation between Client Identity Services of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and both Tusla and the Adoption Authority of Ireland for the purposes of information and tracing services.

I became aware earlier this year that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection had notified both Tusla and the AAI that the CIS could no longer assist in processing data for those agencies, on the basis that there was no statutory basis to do so.  I engaged with my colleague, Minister Doherty, in an effort to have this service re-installed, and a meeting took place at official level.  My understanding of the position of that Department is that the co-operation cannot be re-established until the data sharing is underpinned in statute.  The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016 contains provisions to allow the sharing of data of third parties, for the purposes of information and tracing, and the enactment of that Bill will be the solution to the current difficulties.

I am aware of the impact of the cessation of cooperation from the CIS on current information and tracing services.  This in my view adds to the urgency attached to the enactment of the Information and Tracing Bill, and Deputies will be aware of my on-going efforts to reach consensus on that Bill, to allow it progress to enactment.

I would like to put on record my appreciation of the cooperation and assistance of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to date.  I recognise that compliance with GDPR obligations is the reason that the current service has had to been discontinued, hopefully on a temporary basis, and I look forward to the service resuming when the necessary statutory safeguards are in place.