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Privacy & data protection


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The Houses of the Oireachtas Service respects the rights of all users of our online services and we take your privacy very seriously. This privacy policy outlines how we collect and use information when you use our websites, social media accounts and app.

Here you can find information on:

Who is issuing this notice and why

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission is the statutory body that manages and supports the work and services that are necessary for the Houses of the Oireachtas to operate. The Houses of the Oireachtas Service is, broadly, the work and services that are performed on behalf of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission and the people who perform them. In this page, the two are generally referred to as "the Service". The address of the Service is Leinster House, Dublin 2. The Service’s data protection officer will be your usual point of contact about the matters that this privacy notice relates to.
The Service is issuing this privacy notice because of its duties under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25 May 2018. This privacy notice applies from that date.

Data protection policy

The Houses of the Oireachtas Service has a Data Protection Policy. It sets out how the Service complies with data protection law.

Data protection officer

The Service’s Data Protection Officer is Jennifer McGrath. Her contact details are:

Jennifer McGrath
Houses of the Oireachtas Service
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
D02 XR20
+353 1 618 4712

Controller and processor explained

To describe what will happen to your personal information when you use the website, the Service needs to tell you about a couple of legal terms.

Usually the Service decides what happens to your personal information, and how it is dealt with. The Service is then known as the controller of the personal information. The Service is the controller of your personal information if, for example, you provide the personal information to book a tour of the Houses, make a query to the Press Office, make a query to the Library & Research Service, or subscribe to our email alerts.

But sometimes the Service deals with your personal information on someone else’s behalf. Then the Service is known as a processor. The Service is a processor for most of the personal information you provide when, for example, you click an email link to a Deputy, Senator or Committee to send them a message by email. To find out more about what the Deputy, Senator or Committee will do with your personal information, you need to consult the privacy notice of the person or Committee in question. For example, the Joint Committee on Public Petitions has a Privacy Notice about petitions submitted to it.

As you will see below, the Service also retains processors to deal with personal information on its behalf. Indeed, sometimes these sub-contract to so-called sub-processors. Each of these is bound by contract with the Service to safeguard your personal information, and your privacy and other rights associated with it.

Authority and permission to use personal information - relevant conditions

The Service is setting out in this privacy notice the grounds on which it will deal with personal information belonging to you and to other people, along with some common examples. The Service is also letting you know what conditions apply (often to protect your privacy) to how it can deal with personal information. If unusual circumstances arise not covered by this privacy notice, the Service will communicate with you specifically about these.

When you visit the Houses of the Oireachtas website

When you visit some information is automatically retrieved about your visit to the website. The information that may be retrieved includes:

  • your IP address (this is the identifying details for your computer (or your internet company's computer), expressed in internet protocol (IP) code (for example Every computer connected to the web has a unique IP address, although the address may not be the same every time a connection is made.
  • the search terms you used
  • the pages you accessed on the website and the links you clicked
  • the date and time you visited the site
  • the referring site (if any) through which you clicked through to this site
  • your operating system (for example, Windows or Mac)
  • the type of web browser you use (for example, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox)
  • other information like your screen resolution and the language setting of your browser.

This statistical information will be viewable by Service staff, contractors or third parties who provide administration and/or support services for the website. The information is used to produce summary reports on usage and performance of the Service’s online services, and to help it to analyse and improve the website content and functionality. The Service does not use any of the information above to identify visitors personally. The information is used in aggregate form only.

When you provide email details to the Service

When you provide your email address to the Service in connection with something that the Service as controller can do for you (look above for some illustrations), the Service will only use that personal information for the purpose described on the website.  Stricter rules apply to some types of personal information which may be described as sensitive personal information, although the type of personal information you are likely to give the Service by using this Website is probably unlikely to be sensitive.

Other grounds for dealing with personal information

There are other grounds on which the Service will deal with your personal information, although they are unlikely to arise in the context of using the website. For example, the Service will deal with your personal information where the law requires it to do so. The Service, as a public body, is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and, although the type of personal information you provide in using the website tends to be exempt from disclosure under that Act, exemption can’t be guaranteed. The Service will also need to deal with your personal information if you exercise rights under data protection law. The Service will deal with your personal information where this is necessary to establish (including investigate), exercise, or defend a legal claim, including by disclosing it to its legal advisers and in proceedings before any relevant court, tribunal, arbitrator, mediator, or similar entity. The Service is allowed to deal with a person’s personal information in order to protect the vital interests of the person or of some other person. The Service may deal with personal information in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority.


How the personal information will be dealt with

The type of personal information you give the Service as a controller is normally kept within the Service, but there are exceptions. For example, the Service uses a processor to deal with your personal information where this is needed to deliver to you email alerts to which you have subscribed. That processor currently retains MailChimp as a sub-processor. Rarely, your personal information may be disclosed to the Service’s legal advisers, or to other people or bodies connected with a legal dispute, or to the Garda Síochána.

Transfer of information to third countries

Personal information the Service deals with and to which this privacy notice applies will more often than not be kept within the EU, but the transfer to MailChimp, which is based in the United States, is an exception. There may be others from time to time. Special provision is made in any contract between the Service and a processor outside the EU, or a processor which uses a sub-processor outside the EU, to safeguard your personal information, and your privacy and other rights in respect of it.

Retention of information

The Service will keep personal information only as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy notice, in accordance with its retention schedule, or as required by law, whichever is the longest. So, for example, personal information you give the Service in connection with email alerts is kept so long as you are a subscriber, but is deleted once you unsubscribe. Media queries are kept for five years.

Further dealing with information

It would be rare for the Service to deal with personal information for a purpose other than the purpose for which it received the information. If the Service does need to deal with the information in any further way, it will let you know before the dealing takes place.

Your rights about your personal information

You may ask the Service for a copy of your personal information. You may ask the Service to supplement or correct your personal information if it is incomplete or incorrect (including out of date). You may be able to ask the Service to delete personal information, especially if you have withdrawn consent to the Service’s dealing with it or the Service no longer needs it, or not to deal with it for the time being, for example, if you think it is incorrect. If the Service is dealing with your personal information on the basis of your consent, you can normally require the Service to forward it on to some other person named by you. You may object at any time to the Service’s dealing with personal information it is dealing with in the exercise of official authority or in the public interest, although this entitlement is subject to many legal qualifications depending on the personal information and why the Service is dealing with it. You are entitled not to be subject to automated decision making, including profiling.


If you are not content with how the Service is dealing with your personal information, you may bring your dissatisfaction to the attention of the Data Protection Commission.

Social media

The Service maintains a presence on several social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook. Any information, communications, or materials you submit to the Service by way of a social media platform is done at your own risk without any expectation of privacy. The Service cannot control the actions of other users of these platforms or the actions of the platforms themselves. Your interactions with those features and platforms are governed by the privacy policies of the companies that provide them.

For further information on how the Service interacts with others on our social media platforms and the content we publish, please see our Social Media Policy (2021).

Third party websites

The website includes links to other websites. These third party websites have their own privacy policies, and are also likely to use cookies. The Service encourages you to carefully read the privacy policy of any website you visit.

Sensitive personal information

Sensitive personal information means personal information about a person’s

  • race
  • ethnic background
  • political opinions
  • religion
  • philosophical beliefs
  • membership of a trade union
  • genes (biological inheritance)
  • biometric data (such as fingerprints on a passport)
  • health
  • sex life
  • sexual orientation
  • alleged commission of criminal offences
  • criminal convictions
  • being subject to security measures related to criminal offences or convictions


For information on, and options relating to, cookies please read our cookie notice.

The Service may change this privacy policy at any time and from time to time.

Last updated: 02 October 2020