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Minister Flanagan visits the Data Protection Commissioner for briefing on preparation for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

MoS for Data Protection Pat Breen welcomes Government’s clear commitment to dealing with GDPR

Today Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D. visited the Data Protection Commissioner, Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2 for a briefing on preparations for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into force in May 2018.

· The Minister was briefed by Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner, on the Office’s preparation for expanded functions and obligations under GDPR and measures to increase awareness of companies, public authorities and individuals
· The Minister also outlined the Government’s commitment to dealing with GDPR, and the Data Protection Commissioner’s work, referencing the extra €4m in funding in Budget 2018, which brings DPC budget allocation to almost €11.7m

The GDPR will take effect from 25 May 2018 and will strengthen individuals’ rights and impose greater responsibilities on those collecting, using and storing personal data. The Minister was briefed by Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner on the many preparatory measures underway including an online media campaign with a dedicated website,, publication of guidance material and ongoing engagement with private and public sector bodies, and representative organisations.

The Minister acknowledged the work undertaken to date to ensure a state of readiness for the GDPR and re-emphasised the Government’s commitment to providing the resources necessary for the DPC to perform its globally significant role.

The Minister said “I would like to acknowledge the vital preparatory work being undertaken by the Data Protection Commissioner ahead of the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018. The importance of a stable and effective data protection regulatory environment cannot be overstated and this is reflected in the very significantly increased budget of almost €11.7m to the DPC for 2018, up €4m from last year and more than four times its 2014 budget provision.”

The new regime will mean unprecedented organisational change for the DPC, increasing very significantly its supervisory role and tasks, which will include for the first time, the power to impose administrative fines.

Helen Dixon said “2018 will mark a transformative step-change in data protection regulation in the EU, strengthening the data privacy rights of individuals and placing increased compliance and accountability obligations on organisations. The DPC is continuing to drive awareness of the GDPR through the publication of guidance materials, online media campaigns and proactive engagement with private and public sector organisations. The Government’s continuing commitment to meeting the funding requirements of the DPC is critical to preparations for our enhanced regulatory role, extending to all public and private sector organisations, including the large number of global technology companies located in Ireland.”

Minister of State, Pat Breen T.D. with special responsibility for the EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection said “There are few areas of the business environment that are more important or more challenging at present than that of data protection. I greatly welcome the government’s clear commitment to ensuring that the DPC has the type of resources needed to ensure that we deal with GDPR in the most effective manner possible”

Notes for Editors
· In May 2017, the Government approved the drafting of the Data Protection Bill to give further effect to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to transpose the Directive into national law and to replace the Data Protection Commissioner with a Data Protection Commission with the possibility of up to three Commissioners depending on future workload. The Bill will also equip the Data Protection Commission with the means to supervise and enforce application of enhanced EU data protection standards and provide ensure appropriate procedural and due process safeguards.
· The General Scheme of the Bill was referred to Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny in May 2017. This took place in late June/early July and the Committee’s report is awaited.
· The General Scheme of the Bill was also published on the Department’s website in May 2017. Drafting of the Bill is currently underway and it will be published during the course of the current Dáil session with a view to enacting it by spring 2018.