Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brady asks for second legal opinion on Irish Waters request for tenants information

Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has called on Wicklow County Council not to hand over any council tenants information to Irish Water until a second legal opinion is sought from a barrister that specialises in Data protection. The Councillor made the request on Monday following legal advise from the councils law agent that the council had to comply with a quest from Irish Water seeking details on the councils 4000 tenants. He got a undertaking from council officials that this would be done, however they refused to give an undertaking that no information would be given while awaiting the opinion.

Speaking after Mondays council meeting Councillor Brady said "At the council meeting on 3 November the councillors were informed that Irish Water had sent a letter to the council seeking information on its 4,000 tenants. I raised serious concerns on the issue as both a councillor and a tenant of the council. I believe the request is in breech of Data Protection laws and I sought a legal opinion".

"The councils Law Agent issued his opinion which was presented to the council on Monday. He states that under Section 26 of The Water Services Act Irish Water may request a Local Authority to provide it with such information as it may reasonably require to enable it to perform it's functions as a Water Services Authority".

Cllr Brady continued "I'm not happy that the advice the Councillors have been given takes heed of Data Protection Legislation and I've asked for a second legal opinion from a barrister who specialises in this area. I believe the council or any other body can only share information they hold on an individual with their consent and I don't think the law should be any different for Irish Water. I like many others have refused to engage or correspond with Irish Water and they shouldn't be allowed to circumvent the stringent Data Protection Laws that are in place at both national and European levels".

Councillor Brady concluded "At the meeting I asked the Chief Executive Eddie Sheehy not to comply with the request from the head of Irish Water John Tierney until we got a the second legal opinion and also a response from the Data Protection Commissioner. Unfortunately Mr Sheehy would not given an undertaking on this and said he could not guarantee the information would not be sent. I find this unbelievable, there are concerns surrounding the legality of the request and I as a tenant would take it very serious if any of my details are handed over whilst awaiting the legal opinion. As a public representative I also believe Mr Sheehy would be acting in bad faith and against the expressed wishes of the elected council".  Ends

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