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Minister Murphy Hosts Data Protection Awareness-Raising Event


Minister Dara Murphy hosting a major data protection awareness-raising event at Iveagh House

Minister of State for Data Protection, Dara Murphy, today hosted a major data protection awareness-raising event for the Local Authority sector, where he urged Councils to prioritise and take a proactive approach to the protection of personal data.

The event, which took place in Iveagh House, was attended by senior representatives from City and County Councils from across the country, and is part of the Minister’s on-going initiative to raise awareness across the public sector of the importance of data protection. Minister Murphy hosted a similar event, for state and semi-state bodies, in early July, which was attended by over 200 representatives from public sector bodies.

Central to today’s event was the opportunity for managers from Local Authorities to hear directly from the independent regulator, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner, as well as Assistant Commissioners from her Office, addressed the event.

Speaking after the event, Minister Murphy said:

We need to ensure that public sector bodies have the capacity to deal with data protection as a matter of priority and are mindful of their obligations. We also need to embed across the public sector a culture that is alert to the rights of individuals to have their personal data and their privacy protected.

Having a strong independent regulator in place is critical, and I was delighted to be able to secure a further increase in resources for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner for 2016, bringing its total annual budget to over €4.7m, up from its 2014 allocation of €1.89m. The participation of the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon and her team at today's event has given Local Authorities an important insight into the expectations of the regulator in terms of practice and compliance. 

With agreement on the new EU Data Protection Regulation within sight, the bar will be raised for public sector bodies as well as private entities in relation to data protection. It is important that organisations prepare themselves for these significant changes.