Dublin, 22 August 2018
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has not received satisfactory answers from An Garda Síochána regarding its intention to record names, addresses, and photo identification of residents of Church St, Dublin, in exchange for wristband access to their private homes during the Pope’s visit. We also asked, but have not been told, whether Gardaí are limiting the number of people who can stay in these private residences over the weekend.
Compelling people to produce their personal data in order to gain access to their own homes is a highly intrusive act which triggers privacy rights under European and international human rights laws. While concerns about public security may justify the gathering of sensitive information, An Garda Síochána must ensure that their wristband requirements on Church Street are lawful, necessary and proportionate.
Information Rights Program Manager of the ICCL, Elizabeth Farries, said:
We asked when and how the Gardaí will safeguard, store, and dispose of the personal information they collect. We also questioned how this information collection is being overseen and reported on, and by whom.
We have not yet received clear answers from the Gardaí. This is another example of how the framework within which the Gardaí operate is hidden from the public. An Garda Síochána does not make its policy directives or actions available for public scrutiny.
In September ICCL will launch a campaign calling for An Garda Síochána to be reformed to make it human rights compliant.
Ms Farries continued:
In order to gain public trust, the Gardai must be transparent about their policies and the decisions they make. If they are going to interfere with the privacy of residents, they need to do so only to the extent absolutely necessary. They must proceed according to established legal powers and policy that is clear and accessible. The Gardai cannot discriminate in their actions. Why have they chosen to demand photo ID on Church Street when they don’t ordinarily see the need to do so during large public events elsewhere?