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Data Protection

Data Protection legislation

The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 are designed to protect people’s privacy. They confer rights on individuals in relation to the privacy of their personal data as well as responsibilities on those persons holding and processing such data.

Personal data

Personal data means data relating to a person who is or can be identified either from the data itself or in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the Department. It covers any information that relates to an identifiable, living individual. This data can be held on computers or in manual files.

The Department’s obligations

Under the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003, this Department, as a data controller, has a legal responsibility to:

  • Obtain and process personal data fairly;
  • Keep it only for one or more specified and explicit lawful purposes;
  • Process it only in ways compatible with the purpose of which it was given initially;
  • Keep personal data safe and secure;
  • Keep data accurate, relevant and not excessive;
  • Retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes; and,
  • Provide a copy of his/her personal data to any individual, on request.

Access to personal data

An individual can make a data protection access request by writing to:

Freedom of Information Unit,
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2,
D02 TD30.

Applications can also be made electronically to foiunit@dbei.gov.ie

Compiling your application

When making your request, you should state that you are making your request under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003. You should be as specific as possible to enable the information to be identified. Also, if possible, try to specify the areas of the Department which you feel would be most relevant to your request.

If you need some assistance with compiling your application you may contact the FOI Unit at (01) 631 2485 or 631 2115.

It should be noted that individuals who seek access to their personal records under the Data Protection Acts must pay a minimum fee of €6.35.

Exceptions to the right of access

Sections 4 & 5 of the Data Protection Acts set out a small number of circumstances in which the right to access personal records can be limited. This is necessary in order to strike a balance between the rights of the individual, on the one hand, and some important needs of civil society, on the other hand.

Further information about an individual’s rights under the Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Commissioner website offers an explanation of the rights and responsibilities under the Data Protection Acts and information is also available from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, Canal House, Station Road, Portarlington, Co. Laois.

You can contact the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner by emailing info@dataprotection.ie or calling 1890 252 231.

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