Watchdog calls for privacy guarantees on DNA data sharing

11 September 2013

Press release – for immediate release


Ireland's human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), has welcomed the publication today (11 September 2013) of draft legislation intended to establish a DNA database (the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013).


 ICCL Director, Mr Mark Kelly said "Provided they include appropriate privacy safeguards, DNA databases are valuable crime fighting weapons. Moreover, the appropriate use of profiles obtained from DNA samples can enable law enforcement officials more rapidly to eliminate innocent people from their inquiries."


"It is evident that the Minister for Justice has gone to some lengths to take account of human rights concerns expressed about previous incarnations of this draft legislation. However, the Council retains reservations about the extent to which samples and / or DNA profiles generated from such samples, may be transmitted to other States, including outside the European Union."


"It would be helpful if the Minister were unambiguously to clarify that the role of the proposed DNA Database System Oversight Committee extends to reviewing the appropriateness of the data protection safeguards in place in States to which samples / profiles may be transmitted. As a matter of principle, samples / profiles should not be transmitted to States that cannot guarantee that they will be protected by appropriate privacy safeguards."


The ICCL also considers that, for the avoidance of doubt, it would be desirable if the Minister for Justice were to refer the Bill for review to the Irish Human Rights Commission under Section 8(b) of the Human Rights Commission Act, 2000.   



For further information or comment contact:

Stephen O'Hare

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

9-13 Blackhall Place

Dublin 7



Tel. + 353 1 799 4504

Mob: +353 85 711 2635 

Fax. + 353 1 799 4512





Note to editors:


Minister for Justice and Equality Mr Alan Shatter TD today published the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013.


The Department of Justice and Equality Press Release, the  Bill and Explanatory Memorandum, can be found at the links below.


Press Release available at:


Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013 available at:


Explanatory Memorandum available at:


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