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public waterAccess to water is a Human Right. Public Meeting tomorrow evening, Tuesday 30th Sept, at 8pm in Whites Hotel, Wexford, opposing the Water Charges. All Welcome. Mick.

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Press Statement re Data Protection Commissioner’s decision on Minister Shatter For Immediate Release : May 7th 2014

I welcome the unequivocal decision of the Data Protection Commissioner that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform was in clear breach of the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003 when he unlawfully disclosed personal data for political purposes on live television last May. In his defence, Minister Shatter sought to rely on several bizarre legal arguments; (i) that the data was conveyed verbally by the Garda Commissioner on an unknown date and “resided thereafter in my mind.” (ii) that the exceptions in the Act legitimise abuse of ministerial office to score political points if “necessary” and “in pursuit of legitimate (ministerial) interests” (iii) that a vague and unspecified conflict existed between Data Protection rights and Freedom of Expression Following lengthy and thorough consideration, and extensive correspondence with both parties, the DPC soundly rejected these arguments in a detailed decision yesterday, finding that Minister Shatter failed to uphold his statutory duties as a Data Controller. The DPC halted Minister Shatter's efforts to draw out this process even further, and delay the issuing of the decision even longer, by rejecting the Minister's demand to make further submissions this week. The Minister's pre-emptive attempt at the weekend to dismiss the significance of this decision, claiming the matter has already been dealt with in full in his Dail Statements last May, shows a lack of respect for Mr. Hawkes and the statutory role of his Office. It should be emphasised that the DPC found the Minister alone was culpable for this contravention, as it was the Minister's action and decision to use personal data that was at fault. It is difficult to believe that an experienced Solicitor such as Alan Shatter could commit such a significant breach unintentionally. Throughout this investigation, Minister Shatter has consistently sought to misrepresent the facts ; (i) Contrary to Minister Shatter's assertions on Prime Time, the incident at the Five Lamps did not involve being stopped or cautioned and did not result in the issuing or cancellation of a Fixed Charge Notice.   (ii) Minister Shatter has consistently sought to oversimplify my position on Garda discretion to justify his actions. General Garda discretion to prosecute and the discretion to cancel Fixed Charge Notices are entirely different. Professor Dermot Walsh and Robert Pierse have both cast serious doubt on the lawfulness of Garda discretion to cancel Fixed Charge Notices. My position has always been that a measure of Garda discretion to cancel FCNs is necessary, if lawful and if subject to proper auditing and oversight procedures, a transparent system with clear criteria, evidenced-based and formally recorded decisions. This is a matter of public record. (iii) In trying to spin this decision, Minister Shatter has been forced to resort to the fact he was not found guilty of a criminal offence in his desperate attempt to cling to righteousness. In fact, criminality was never alleged or in question. (iv) Minister Shatter says that he acknowledges his mistake in the disclosure of personal data, would not repeat it, and has publicly apologised. This contrite position is entirely contradictory to any consideration to appeal and publicly challenge the DPC decision. (v) Minister Shatter now seeks to rely on a warped misrepresentation of the findings of SIPO as somehow exonerating his conduct. In fact, SIPO decided as a preliminary issue that their statutory remit did not permit an examination of the complaint, and so these issues were not considered by SIPO at all. In order to avoid further damaging the dignity and integrity of his office, it is my hope that Minister Shatter will now accept the findings of the DPC. Although it is clearly his right to appeal to the Circuit Court, I believe that this would cause further damage to the dignity and integrity of Office and represent a cynical attempt to delay and distract, providing a convenient excuse for any refusal to now engage publicly with this issue. The Taoiseach is already relying on this excuse. If Minister Shatter does appeal, there must be complete transparency on issues surrounding the funding of that appeal, the capacity in which it is taken, and clarification of the support, sanctioning or otherwise of the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and members of Cabinet. This Minister has achieved the dubious distinction of being a sitting Minister for Justice who has breached legislation that he is ultimately responsible for enforcing. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is organisationally within the structure of the Department of Justice. The Coalition government that presides over this sorry affair is comprised of a Fine Gael party and its much-trumpeted tradition of law and order and a Labour party who promised to deliver reform and accountability. Is this the Coalition’s idea of doing politics different? Is this the change we were promised at this last election? ENDS. For further information contact Mick Wallace TD on 01 618-3287 Notes to the Editor: 1: The communication of data from the Garda Commissioner to the Minister was lawful in accordance with Section 41 (1) (d) of the Garda Siochana Act 2005 which imposes a catch-all duty on the Garda Commissioner to keep the Minister fully informed of “(d) any other matters that, in the Commissioner’s opinion, should be brought to the Minister’s attention.” This is yet another example of the overly-politicised relationship between the Garda Commissioner and the Minister under the Garda Act 2005. My 37-page Garda Siochana (Amendment) Bill 2013 proposed to remove this duty but the Bill was rejected outright at second stage by this Coalition Government. 2: For further information in relation to Garda discretion, see links below: http://mickwallace.net/dail-statements-on-fixed-charge-notices-garda-discretion/ http://mickwallace.net/analysis-of-garda-report-on-cancellation-of-penalty-points/ http://mickwallace.net/grave-issues-in-relation-to-cancellation-of-fixed-charge-notices-being-misrepresented-by- minister-shatter-statement-from-mick-wallace-td-may-18th/

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.

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Mick Wallace Budget 2016 Speech.

Mick Wallace discussing Ireland's response to the current Refugee crisis.

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