Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (82, 83)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

82. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the Office of the Information Commissioner was consulted by his officials when drafting the Retention of Records Bill 2019. [16826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

83. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the Data Protection Commission was consulted by his officials when drafting the Retention of Records Bill 2019. [16827/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

The Retention of Records Bill 2019, currently before Dáil Éireann, provides for the retention of the records of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee.  Under the legislation establishing these bodies the bulk of their records would, on the dissolution of those bodies, fall to be destroyed. The records held by these bodies represent the personal testimony and stories of many survivors of residential institutional child abuse and a range of related papers.   This information was provided by these survivors on the understanding that the records would be destroyed.  I believe that these historically important but extremely sensitive records should not be destroyed but should be retained so as to ensure that future generations will be aware of and understand what happened in institutions and out of respect to the victims who came forward.

The legislation under which the three bodies in question currently operate restricts the application of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts and the Data Protection Act. The Retention of Records Bill provides for the continuation of that dis-application in the case of the Freedom of Information Act. If the Bill is enacted and the records are transferred to the National Archives, further processing will be for archiving purposes and the provisions of section 61 of the Data Protection Act 2018 will therefore apply.

The proposals contained in the Bill were the subject of normal consultations with other Government departments both at the time the General Scheme of the Bill was finalised in early 2015 and more recently when the text of the Bill was approved for publication. I can confirm that informal discussions took place with the Data Protection Commissioner.