Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle presses Government on providing records to Mother and Baby Home survivors

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has again pressed Government on when it will provide survivors of Mother and Baby Homes with full access to their records.

During Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle reminded the Taoiseach that the Government has said it will bring a bill on the matter to the Dáil by Christmas.

Deputy Pringle said that in June of this year the Data Protection Commissioner wrote to the Minister for Children in relation to the department’s handling of subject access requests from survivors, saying: “Concerning SI 82/1989, I have had reason to re‐examine the Department’s approach to dealing with SARs pertaining to health data and I am of the view that the manner in which the Department is handling such requests is not appropriate to the circumstances.”

A subject access request (SAR) allows employees and individuals to request and receive a copy of the personal data that a company or organisation has collected about them.

The deputy noted that the minister said in September, in response to the Adoption (Information) Bill that Deputy Catherine Connolly and Deputy Pringle had brought forward, that he would have his bill before the Dáil by Christmas.

Deputy Pringle said: “In November, the European Commission opened an investigation into the GDPR matter. The department told the Commission, ‘that it is anticipated that the new regulations will be in place by the end of the year.’

“We have seen nothing, despite it being prioritised in the Chief Whip’s legislation programme for the term,” he said.

Deputy Pringle asked the Taoiseach: “When will your Government get this done? Will you ensure that the proposed Section 10(2) which seeks to repeat and continue the same unlawful block on direct access is removed? And most importantly, in the meantime, will you ensure that the department desists from its unlawful application of SI 82/1989?”

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