In 2012 a whistleblower in the Garda Síochána submitted a report through official channels to the Garda Commissioner alleging serious abuses of the penalty points system.
No action was taken and the whistleblower suffered serious consequences as a result of his action.
Subsequently the whistleblower submitted the same report to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice, Minister for Transport, Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, Road Safety Authority, Data Protection Commissioner and several opposition TDs.
The Data Protection Commissioner made no comment and took no action regarding the legality or illegality of the whistleblowers actions.
It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the actions of the whistleblower were legitimate and legal.
Any other conclusion would suggest that the Data Protection Commissioner was in serious dereliction of his duty at the time.
Recently, a new batch of allegations surrounding the penalty points system was handed over to Fianna Fail TD, John McGuinness who is chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
The Garda Commissioner responded immediately to this event by writing to Mr. McGuinness demanding the return of the information.
The Data Protection Commissioner also responded immediately in support of the Garda Commissioner’s demand saying:
(Mr. McGuinness) has a duty to act on alleged breaches of the law.
For that reason, I must support the Garda commissioner’s efforts to retrieve all personal data which was removed from An Garda Síochána without his authorisation.
I rang the Data Protection Commissioner’s office yesterday to ask why Mr. McGuinness had a duty to act on alleged breaches of the law when the Data Protection Commissioner himself did not feel any such need in 2012.
I’ll report on the response I received in the next day or so.