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Minister Breen welcomes GDPR

Minister of State with special responsibility for Data Protection, Pat Breen, welcomes the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force today across the European Union and replaces previous data protection laws.

The new Regulation and the enacting legislation in Ireland, the Data Protection Act 2018, will give individuals greater control over their data by setting out additional and more clearly defined rights for individuals whose personal data is collected and processed by organisations.

Speaking at Government Buildings today, Minister Breen said:

As we increasingly engage with digital technologies to maintain contact with people and to carry out transactions online, it is crucial that we have reassurances that our personal data will be used appropriately. Today with the entry into force of the GDPR across the European Union, we have that reassurance.

Individuals now have enhanced rights to access, correct, transfer and seek deletion of their data. They also have the right to restrict and object to the processing of their personal data, as well the right not to be the subject of automated decision making based on profiling, in certain circumstances.

The GDPR also imposes corresponding and greatly increased obligations on organisations that collect personal data whether they are in the public, private or voluntary sector.

Minister Breen commented:

Organisations processing personal data must now meet very high standards in how they collect, use and protect that data and demonstrate their compliance. They must also inform individuals about why and how they are using their personal data, as well as how they are safeguarding it.

However, it is important that businesses and organisations do not fear GDPR. Indeed for Irish companies, being able to show compliance with the Regulation into the future will actually be a real competitive advantage in both domestic, European and International markets.

More information on the GDPR can be found the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner’s dedicated website,

Minister Breen urged everyone to get informed:

Today marks a sea-change in how personal data is protected. There will be no going back to a time when people and organisations could be casual about how their personal data is processed. We must all strive to live up to the principles of the GDPR. As data becomes the engine for many economies, organisations must introduce measures to safeguard personal data. And individuals should inform themselves of their rights but also continue to use caution in how they use their personal data.