Cards On The Table

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Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D. speaking at the budget 2020 Press Conference in Government Buildings; Department of Justice press conference this morning

This morning.

It was thought that when the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe delivered Budget 2020 yesterday, no increase in funding was announced for the Data Protection Commission – which may soon be facing the State in court.

In light of this, solicitor and data protection expert Simon McGarr tweeted this morning:

“Greyhound racing gets an increase on €16m funding. The entire 100+ staffed DPC office gets €15.2m, no increase.

“For some reason the Dept in charge of the Public Services Card project didn’t increase funding for the regulator, despite huge work increase post-GDPR.”

However…

Irish Independent journalist Hugh O’Connell, at a Department of Justice Budget 2020 press conference this morning, tweetz:

For those asking, the government’s funding for the Data Protection Commissioner’s office is up by €1.6m next year.

Total budget of €16.9m for 2020.

The Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon recently found there is no legal basis for the State demanding the use of the Public Services Card in order to access a range of public services beyond social welfare payments.

Ms Dixon ordered that Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty’s department stop issuing new PSCs, with immediate effect, to people seeking a service outside of her department.

She also ordered that the department delete the supporting documentation – such as utility bills, etc – that the department has retained on the 3.2million card holders.

Ms Doherty is categorical her department will not be complying with these orders and has said the State will challenge the findings of Ms Dixon – in court, if needs be.

This morning…

Cianan Brennan, in The Irish Examiner, reported:

“The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection did not share the interim adversarial findings of the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) regarding the Public Services Card (PSC) with any affected bodies apart from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

This was despite being specifically asked and in a position to do so.”

Social Protection slow to share draft report on PSC (Cianan Brennan, The Irish Examiner)

Meanwhile…

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has launched a petition calling for the card to be stopped and for data retained to be deleted.

The petition can be signed here

Related: Twitter and Facebook could be facing billions in fines after Ireland investigations (CNBC)

19 thoughts on “Cards On The Table

  1. eoin

    I have sympathy for Simon McGarr, there’s no reference to €16.9m for the Data Protection Commissioner in yesterday’s Budget 2020 documents.

    Trust me, it will be days before the detail of Budget 2020 come to light (if we’re lucky, but because ministers love to boast about how they secured funding for bodies under their aegis, it’s likely we will eventually get the detail, pity we can’t get it on budget day).

      1. eoin

        That’s a press release from this morning. And it’s true, in the coming days we will get the detail of Budget 2020, and there will be some surprises.

        Anyone who studied the Budget 2020 documents yesterday will have been concerned that some initiatives (the increase in greyhound racing funding) were highlighted but there was silence about the funding for the likes of the Data Protection Commissioner. I think Simon McGarr was right to be suspicious.

        1. Joe Small

          He wasn’t just suspicious, he categorically stated there was no increase, when, in reality, he hadn’t a notion of its allocation for 2020.

          I actually check things are true before sending them out to the general public. It helps with credibility.

          1. eoin

            Maybe he was channelling the inner disappointment of the Data Protection Commissioner who, this afternoon, has issued a statement “the DPC [office of the Data Protection Commissioner] is disappointed that the additional funding allocated is less than one third of the funding that the DPC requested in its budget submission. The submission reflected a year of experience of regulating under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and highlighted the increased volumes and complexities involved. The DPC must now reassess its planned expenditure for 2020, particularly in relation to foreseen “non-pay” expenditure for which the DPC has received a zero increase in allocation”
            https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/press-releases/data-protection-commission-statement-increased-funding-eu16-million-2020

            8 weeks after the Data Protection Commissioner issued a ruling that was received unfavorably by some in government, she’s being punished with a budget increase which doesn’t reflect the increased workload of dealing with all sorts of privacy issues, not least GDPR.

  2. Joe Small

    “Greyhound racing gets an increase on €16m funding. The entire 100+ staffed DPC office gets €15.2m, no increase.”

    Well, as the Indo said, this is untrue from McGarr. Lazy of him too – easy to check these figures.

    “For some reason the Dept in charge of the Public Services Card project didn’t increase funding for the regulator, despite huge work increase post-GDPR.”

    I’m confused. DEASP is in charge of the PSC and D/Justice oversees Data Protection Commission. What is he talking about?

    1. V

      If their allocation (yere all saying 15.2 million) is too light, then the DPC would make a business case, ie provide their own budgets and cashflows etc, to either the Dept of Finance or to the Dept of Justice – probably both.

      Like that’s what the RTB must have done to get an additional 2m to deal with their own increased work load

      1. Joe Small

        The DPC would make representations to the Department of Justice and Equality who would then meet with DPER pre-Budget. Every department and agency wants more money but obviously they either get nothing extra or less than they asked for.

  3. Tea And Brexits

    Cathleen ni Houlihan is a one-act play written by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1902.

    Too soon.

  4. V

    Ah shur’
    We won’t know the nuts and bolts of the entire budget 2020 until it is fully published and voted on.

    I wouldn’t be to smarty pants about an omission

    The speech, the pre-leaks and the to-camera turn outs only feature bullet points.

  5. scottser

    i got breathalysed there there the other evening, only the second time ever. i forgot to ask for the tube back. now gardai have a dna sample from me. not that they’d use it against me or anything…

          1. scottser

            exactly my point. in future, if anyone gets breathalysed you’re perfectly within your rights to ask for the tube back.

          2. Cian

            I’m impressed that the Garda would go to all that effort.

            On TV the police just follow the suspect to a café/pub and grab their used glass. But our boys in blue are really thinking outside the box.

            +1 to An Garda Síochána

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