Solicitor Simon McGarr is fighting to get access to records for a Mother and Baby Home survivor
The Government promised to ensure Mother and Baby Home survivors would get access to their personal information, contained within the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes’ records, in line with EU law, or more specifically General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
But it hasn’t done so, citing a Statutory Instrument from 1989.
However, the SI is inferior to GDPR.
Solicitor Simon McGarr, in his latest Gist article, explains:
“…on behalf of a client, on the 17th September my office reported Ireland for this ongoing breach of EU law to the European Commission.
“On the 10th November 2021 the Commission wrote back, confirming it had opened an investigation on foot of that complaint and that it had written to the Department;
‘We wrote to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth as part of the investigation of this complaint. They informed us that the Minister for Health is progressing new Regulations concerning access to health data as a matter of priority and that officials from the Department of Children are also liaising with the Department of Health on this issue. The Department have informed us that the new Regulations intend to take into account of the requirements of the GDPR, and the issue of mandatory consultation with a health practitioner will be given further consideration. They stated that it is anticipated that the new Regulations will be in place by the end of the year.’
“In response, I pointed out that the Minister had not accepted that the requirement for a mandatory consultation with a health practitioner would be changed, but merely that it would be given ‘further consideration’.
“I then supplied the Commission with a copy of the new Legislative Heads for the same Minister’s proposed Birth Information and Tracing Bill, drawing their attention to Section 10(2), which repeats and continues the same block on direct access, and maintains the same requirement from the 1989 SI, that survivors’ medical records would be sent to doctors, not to them directly.
“We’re awaiting their reply, but it appears as though Ireland remains under investigation.
“And, for survivors, a right that everyone seems to acknowledge they have—to access their medical data under the GDPR—continues to be blocked.”