The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (pictured) has secured a High Court order requiring telecommunications firms to retain certain data – including user, traffic and location data – for 12 months.
The application was made under section 3A of the Communications (Retention of Data) (Amendment) Act 2022, which came into operation on Monday (26 June).
Under section 3A, the general and indiscriminate retention of such data is allowed only to safeguard the security of the State, and where an order of a designated judge of the High Court has been made.
In a statement, the Department of Justice said that the minister had assessed the threat to the State before making the application, and had also consulted the Garda Commissioner.
The application was made on an ex parte basis and was heard in camera.
Minister McEntee said that she was satisfied that “there exists a serious and genuine, present or foreseeable threat to the security of the State, and that such threat is likely to continue for at least the next 12 months”.
“In doing so, I had regard to the necessity and proportionality of the retention of the data concerned, and took account of the impact on the fundamental rights of individuals as required,” she added.
The new law was enacted to provide legal certainty after rulings 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.