John Murray appointed to review legislation allowing access to journalists’ phone records

John Murray appointed to review legislation allowing access to journalists’ phone records

By Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner Political Editor

The Government has appointed former chief justice John Murray to review legislation allowing access to journalists’ phone records.

Ministers agreed at their weekly Cabinet meeting to appoint an independent expert to examine the legislation.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald revealed that Mr Justice Murray will undertake a review and compare international practice and law to Ireland's rules in light of the decision of GSOC to tap the phones of a number of journalists.

Ms Fitzgerald brought a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday on a planned review of GSOC powers and how it may be carried out.

The review, however, will not be confined to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, but also An Garda Síochána.

One of the jobs for Justice Murray will be to assess if any legislative change is required.

Earlier, former press ombudsman John Horgan said investigating officers should be required to seek prior approval from a judge or senior legal figure before they can access journalists’ phone records.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said changing legislation allowing GSOC to access journalists’ phone records may be necessary to protect sources.

Frances Fitzgerald has said she has “no role in the process of requesting or authorising access to telephone records under the legislation.”


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