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Parts of data-retention act to come into effect
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07 Jun 2023 / legislation Print

Parts of data-retention act to come into effect

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has signed an order that brings into operation some provisions of new legislation setting out how communications data can be retained.

The new law was enacted to provide legal certainty after rulings in this area from the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In a case taken by convicted murderer Graham Dwyer, the CJEU ruled last year that EU law precluded the general and indiscriminate retention of electronic traffic and location data for the purposes of combating serious crime.

National-security grounds

The provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) (Amendment) Act 2022 will come into effect from 26 June.

The law will allow the general and indiscriminate retention of communications traffic and location data on national-security grounds, where this is approved by a designated judge.

The act also introduces a system of preservation and production orders to facilitate preservation of, and access to, specified communications data held by service providers for national-security purposes.

Such data will be used for the investigation of serious crime, where permitted by an authorising judge.


Preservation orders will require service providers to retain any specified data that they hold at a particular point in time for a period.

A production order will allow access to specified data held by a service provider for commercial or other reasons, where such access is necessary for national-security or law-enforcement purposes.

Information covered by the act will be retained for 12 months.

'Legal certainty'

Minister McEntee said that the act would provide legal certainty for communications firms and State agencies on what obligations applied to the retention of communications data.

She added that it would provide an Garda Síochána with the laws and technology to do their job, while also ensuring that people’s rights were not subject to unnecessary or disproportionate interference.

The commenced provisions signed by the minister apply to an Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

The provisions covering the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will be commenced later.

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