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Minister Dara Murphy highlights Ireland’s preparations for new EU-wide data protection rules in keynote address

The Minister for European Affairs, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, today (17 November 2016) delivered a keynote address (full text below) at the 11th Annual Data Protection Practical Compliance Conference in Dublin, hosted by PDP.

In his address the Minister highlighted Ireland’s preparations for the new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming on stream in May 2018, including a consultation currently open on the ‘digital age of consent,’ as well as work ongoing across Government, the wider public sector and within the private sector. In particular, the Minister emphasised the importance of achieving clarity and consistency in the application of the new rules across Europe. He said:

“A key issue for organisations that operate across more than one EU member state is the desire for a common understanding of what the GDPR means for us. What is wanted is clarity and consistency across all member states. For the EU as a whole to be competitive and attract international investment, we need to have the Regulation applied in the same pragmatic manner across the Union.”

The Minister welcomed the findings of a recent survey of 200 companies undertaken by Forbes on behalf of William Fry Solicitors which demonstrated that Ireland’s data privacy regulatory regime is held in high regard internationally. He stated:

“This is excellent news for Ireland, and as the report states, is a very strong indicator of a firm but fair regime that strikes the right balance between businesses and individuals. I don’t think it is possible to overstate the importance of investing in our data protection regime.”

Looking ahead to 2017, Minister Murphy flagged plans by the Government Data Forum to host a major data event in Dublin in May. The Minister said:

“As part of its work, the Government Data Forum will be holding a two day flagship international Data Summit next May, when we will be one year out from the GDPR coming into effect. The objectives of the Summit will be to stimulate an inclusive discussion across society on the role of data in modern society, to promote greater awareness of individuals’ data protection rights, and to promote Ireland as a thought leader in the area of data and data protection. It is hoped that the Summit will help to bring a greater balance to conversations about the use of data.”

Full details of the event will be announced at a later date.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Department of Justice and Equality is consulting on data protection safeguards for children (‘Digital age of consent’) under the GDPR until 2 December. For further details see

2. The ‘Europe for Big Data’ report for William Fry Solicitors is the result of a survey of senior executives by Forbes.

3. The Government Data Forum is chaired by Minister Murphy and brings together a broad mix of expertise and experience from business, academic, civil society, law and the public sector to consider and advise Government on key issues around the growth of digital and personal data.