‘Some Tweets For Info’


Then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe with a Public Services Card in 2006; Solicitor Simon McCarr

Solicitor Simon McGarr, of Dublin firm McGarr Solicitors, was very vocal about his concerns in respect of the Public Services Card for years.

This was long before the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon last week found that there is no legal basis for anyone to have to present a PSC in respect of any transaction between a person and a public body outside the Department of Employment and Social Protection.

At the weekend, Mr McGarr tweeted redacted documents that he obtained which show how closely the Department of Social Welfare was following his media utterances on the matter – including his tweets…

Related: The Facial Images on the PSC are Biometric Data (Simon McGarr)

Previously: House of Card

Your Card Has Been Declined


Gavan Reilly, political correspondent at Virgin Media One and presenter of Newstalk’s On The Record interviewed Mr McGarr yesterday.

Towards the end of the interview, they had this exchange…

Gavan Reilly: “If there is an internal note on the Department of Social Protection about your appearance on this show here today, what do you imagine they’re saying about you?”

Simon McGarr: “I can’t imagine it’s complimentary based on the previous notes that I got. But what I will say is this: One of the talking points which have emerged since the report [from the Data Protection Commissioner] is the argument is that ‘well, look, surely everyone acknowledges, our intentions were good while we illegally collected a database on three million people.

“And, at some point, the intentions were good, absolutely. In the sense that nobody intended to break the law, at some point when this was being designed.

“The question is at what point did they become aware that the law was being broken and being carried on anyway.

“And I do know that the Journal.ie received documents between the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority which said that Shane Ross had received a verbal briefing from the Attorney General in March 2018.”

Reilly: “So the Attorney General was giving advice, nearly 18 months ago, that there already some legal concern or ambiguity about this?”

McGarr: “Well, on foot of the conversation, having cited the conversation as the reason for doing it, the Department of Transport instructed the Road Safety Authority  to stop requiring the public to use the Public Services Card in their online application.

“And the Road Safety Authority complained that they’d spent millions building that. So, in March 2018, Shane Ross took the right decision on the Attorney General’s advice and he said ‘no, we won’t do that’.

“Now, the question is: at what point did everybody else in the public service become aware of the Attorney General’s opinion and why did they take no action from March 2018 to now?”

Listen back in full here


8 thoughts on “‘Some Tweets For Info’

  1. eoin

    Jeepers, it would remind of that time that Regina had that woman, an American lecturer, detained at Dublin Airport by Gardai from Pearse Street until the woman signed something to say she wouldn’t tweet anything about Regina in future. Scary. Kinda like the illegal mass surveillance. And Leo is now saying there are “nearly” 4m PSC cards issued, not 3.2m as was the case when the Data Commissioner began her investigation a few years ago.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Thanks for the link. I did not know about this. (Had emigrated and unfortunately returned).

  2. Optimus Grime

    FG = Norsefire
    They don’t like people pointing out they were wrong about something and they’ll an eye on you, probably waiting for an opportunity to try and totally discredit you

  3. martco

    this is lovely work by Simon McGarr, a big thanks & please keep it up!

    I’d say it’s good craic watching a monkey dance, wha

  4. max

    give everyone 100 euro and then raise taxes by 200 euro to cover it and the lawyers cut simples….

  5. Terry

    Government in violation of data law
    I can just imagine the legal profession salivating at the prospect of legal cases
    Swing gate has nothing on this 21st Centuary defense forces deaf ear syndrome

Comments are closed.