Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (652, 653, 654)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

652. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the work under way in his Department to review or reform the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36165/19]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

653. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the engagement that has taken place to date, formal or informal, between his Department and representatives of the telecommunications industry or individual telecommunications operators on proposed reforms to the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36166/19]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

654. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the guidance provided to private sector companies that retain telecommunications data under the provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 in view of recent judgments pertaining to the legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36167/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 652 to 654, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the law in this area continues to evolve in light of emerging jurisprudence in the national courts of the Member States and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Ireland, along with many other Member States, is currently intervening in the European Court of Justice in a number of important cases.  We await the judgment of the Court in these cases, which are expected to be heard in the coming days.

The Deputy will also be aware that the State has lodged an appeal in a recent High Court Judgment relevant to this area of the law. The appeal in this case was made having regard to the general public importance of the issues arising in these proceedings and in light of the ongoing Court of Justice cases mentioned above which raise fundamental questions about the scope and meaning of previous judgments made by that Court.

While all States must seek to address the issues raised by the ECJ in national legislation, it is considered essential that the implications arising from ECJ jurisprudence are addressed at European level and we continue to encourage progress on this important and sensitive area of law.

The Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2019 will replace the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 and take account of evolving ECJ jurisprudence on data retention. Drafting of that Bill is at an advanced stage. Consultation with stakeholders has taken place in this regard. The Deputy will however appreciate that engagement with stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, is complicated given the continuing scrutiny of the laws by the courts at this time. I assure the Deputy that further consultation with stakeholders will take place in the context of the drafting work that is underway.