‘The Proposal To Seal The Archive Is Simply Impermissible Under EU Law’ [Updated]

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This evening.

On RTE’s Drivetime.

Journalist Sarah McInerney asked Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman about a report in the Irish Examiner that stated Mr O’Gorman proposed two amendments to the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records Bill 2020 which will be debated in the Dail this evening (link above)

From the interview:

Roderic O’Gorman: “Just first of all, Sarah, the Bill that I’m bringing forward does not seal the archive. The archive is the decision on the 30-year sealing of the archive was made when the Commission of Mother and Baby Homes was established in 2015.  What my Bill is trying to do is to take one really valuable piece of that archive, this database which can be used to help children or indeed mothers who were in Mother and Baby Homes to trace family relatives, to take that database out of the archive and give it to Tusla.

“I will be bringing forward two amendments. One of those amendments is to ensure that an entire copy of the archive remains in the archive. So a copy of the database will remain in the archive as well as one being moved to Tusla. That was one of the requests that were made of me.

“And the other amendment is to allow people who gave personal stories to the confidential committee, as part of the commission’s investigation, that they will have a period to indicate whether they want their names associated with their testimonies in the archive or whether they want their names redacted.

“So giving agency back to people, rather than making assumptions about what people want: actually ask them. For some people who, you know, don’t ever want to kind of the process of giving testimony was so difficult, they don’t want any association with what they said. For other people who want their stories and want their names very much associated with their own personal stories, it ensures that their names will be in the archive as well.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier:

Solicitor Simon McGarr (above) says the bill to seal Mother and Baby Home documents is impermissible under EU law

This afternoon.

Further to the progress through the Dáil today of a bill that would seal the records of the Mother Baby Home Commission for 30 years…

…solicitor and data privacy expert Simon McGarr writes (full article at link below):

‘It is critical that the state does not compound an administrative error being made by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters, in failing to take account of its duties under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and GDPR to set aside any national provision which would conflict with the rights of access and other data protection rights.

The Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 has been superseded by the GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018. Its provisions providing for secrecy cannot be applied by any emanation of the state where they conflict with either Article 15 rights of access or Article 18 rights of the data subject to restrict any proposed processing.

In addition, the proposal to ‘seal’ the archive of documents to be presented to the Minister for 30 years is simply impermissible under EU law. Even where national legislation allows for restrictions on data subjects’ rights, those restrictions must be tightly limited and necessary for an overriding purpose of national importance…

…This is not merely a matter of policy – though the moral case is unanswerable.

It is a matter of EU law, and a direct duty on Ireland and all the emanations of the state to uphold those rights.

…It would be a perverse legacy for the government to legislate to deprive people of data they so sorely wish to access about themselves and open Ireland up to the risk of fines on foot of enforcement by the European Commission in order to do so.’

Mother and Baby Home Commission records: An EU Law Perspective (Simon McGarr, Tuppenceworth.ie)

Update:

This afternoon.

Earlier: “I’m Not Sure They’ll Quell Discontent”

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7 thoughts on “‘The Proposal To Seal The Archive Is Simply Impermissible Under EU Law’ [Updated]

  1. Cú Chulainn

    Did O’Gorman not at the very least seek independent legal advice on this..? Why is the Green Party facilitating this ?

  2. eamonn

    It is as though the green party surrendered their identity/principles – whichever you choose, to facilitate
    the formation of the coalition. All in the national interest mind you….
    My own feeling is that their membership can’t be happy with how they are performing.
    Why continue to attempt oppress/control ? I can’t see a good reason.
    If they are acting contrary to the rules, maybe they could stop?

    1. Dr.Fart

      the Gov. wants to keep it under wraps in an attempt to save face and avoid having to issue apologies and also awarding damages. It looks better for them if not much is known about what happened, rather than it all being out in the open during a time Fiann Fail were in power and purposely turned a blind eye to atrocities like this, to keep the catholic vote. none of it is a good look for them, so they try hide it.

  3. Dr.Fart

    the Gov. wants to keep it under wraps in an attempt to save face and avoid having to issue apologies and also awarding damages. It looks better for them if not much is known about what happened, rather than it all being out in the open during a time Fiann Fail were in power and purposely turned a blind eye to atrocities like this, to keep the catholic vote. none of it is a good look for them, so they try hide it.

    1. Cú Chulainn

      It’s just profoundly disappointing.. I know the Greens are selfish poos but there are certain standards expected and the Greens just fail on every level

  4. Truth in the News

    Everything about Mother and Baby Institutions needs to be open and not hidden
    to protect the last remaining sacred cows, then they are the records of Adoption
    Agencies plus the Adoption Board which was chaired by Alfie Rochford, is it
    any wonder they want everything hidden, did the State collude with the Catholic
    Church in selling children for decades.

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