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Legislative Programme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 31 May 2022

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Ceisteanna (587)

Dara Calleary


587. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice the proposed timeline for passing the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27644/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, Justice Plan 2022 commits to the publication of the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill, previously called the Digital Recordings Bill. This important legislation will make provision for Garda powers to use modern digital technology including body worn cameras, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV, with a view to enactment by the Oireachtas.

The Bill will provide statutory underpinning for Garda overt recording, which will include CCTV authorised in local communities by the Garda Commissioner. The proposed Bill will repeal section 38 of the 2005 Garda Act and replace existing provisions with new CCTV provisions. This legislation can facilitate the role of CCTV in preventing and prosecuting those involved in criminal activity, in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government.

The General Scheme of the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill 2021 was approved by the Government and published on the 29th April 2021. The General Scheme was sent to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting. The General Scheme was also submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Committee’s report was received in December 2021.

The Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill is expected to be taken at second stage in the Dáil by the end of June. Committee stage is expected to take place in the autumn, and the Bill is expected to be fully enacted by the end of the year.

As the Deputy may be aware, it is my intention to seek Cabinet approval to include measures around facial recognition as committee stage amendments to the Recording Devices Bill. The use of facial recognition technology, artificial intelligence and other digital evidence management systems would be used to search or process evidence held by An Garda Síochána. A number of safeguards will be built in to the legislation to ensure that any potential intrusions into citizen’s private lives are necessary and proportionate and are for justifiable policing purposes