Shatter appeal over data breach set for November

Former justice minister Alan Shatter’s appeal against a decision of the Data Protection Commissioner — that he had breached data protection laws when he divulged information relating to TD Mick Wallace on RTÉ’s Prime Time — will be heard in November.

Judge Matthew Deery yesterday heard in the Circuit Civil Court that Mr Wallace, who was present in court, had now been joined as a notice party to the proceedings.

The commissioner had found that the then justice minister had failed to uphold his statutory duties under the Data Protection Acts at the time of the RTÉ programme.

He found that Mr Shatter was a “data controller” in relation to the “personal data” when he disclosed on the programme that Mr Wallace had been cautioned by gardaí for using a mobile phone while driving.

Mr Shatter later apologised to Mr Wallace.

Mr Shatter resigned as justice minister following adverse findings in the Guerin report into allegations of garda misconduct by a whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

In his legal documents, Mr Shatter claims the commissioner erred in fact and in law in reaching his conclusions.

When the case came before the court in June, Mr Wallace’s solicitor, Gareth Noble, told the court the Independent TD for Wexford was the person who made the complaint to the commissioner and wanted to be joined as a notice party to the proceedings.

The court had heard that the appeal by Mr Shatter concerned the validity of the commissioner’s decision and it was appropriate Mr Wallace have an opportunity to have access to the appeal papers and be allowed make representations to the court on all issues raised.

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