Official Secrets Act 1963


Number 1 of 1963


OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1963

REVISED

Updated to 15 April 2021


This Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of the Official Secrets Act 1963. It is prepared by the Law Reform Commission in accordance with its function under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (3/1975) to keep the law under review and to undertake revision and consolidation of statute law.

All Acts up to and including the Residential Tenancies Act 2021 (5/2021), enacted 30 March 2021, and all statutory instruments up to and including the European Communities (Reception Conditions) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 178 of 2021), made 15 April 2021, were considered in the preparation of this Revised Act.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this Revised Act, the Law Reform Commission can assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided and does not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. Please notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to

revisedacts@lawreform.ie.


Number 1 of 1963


OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1963

REVISED

Updated to 15 April 2021


Introduction

This Revised Act presents the text of the Act as it has been amended since enactment, and preserves the format in which it was passed.

Related legislation

This Act is not collectively cited with any other Act.

Annotations

This Revised Act is annotated and includes textual and non-textual amendments, statutory instruments made pursuant to the Act and previous affecting provisions.

An explanation of how to read annotations is available at

www.lawreform.ie/annotations.

Material not updated in this revision

Where other legislation is amended by this Act, those amendments may have been superseded by other amendments in other legislation, or the amended legislation may have been repealed or revoked. This information is not represented in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the amended legislation if one is available.

Where legislation or a fragment of legislation is referred to in annotations, changes to this legislation or fragment may not be reflected in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the legislation referred to if one is available.

A list of legislative changes to any Act, and to statutory instruments from 1972, may be found linked from the page of the Act or statutory instrument at

www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Acts which affect or previously affected this revision

Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 (9/2018)

Finance Act 2016 (18/2016)

Freedom of Information Act 2014 (30/2014)

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 (33/2013)

Europol Act 2012 (53/2012)

Finance Act 2011 (6/2011)

Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008 (7/2008)

Finance Act 2007 (11/2007)

Finance Act 2006 (6/2006)

Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005 (1/2005)

Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004 (36/2004)

Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 (50/2001)

Commission To Inquire Into Child Abuse Act 2000 (7/2000)

Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997)

Europol Act 1997 (38/1997)

Finance Act 1997 (22/1997)

Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act 1997 (17/1997)

Criminal Law Act 1997 (14/1997)

Freedom of Information Act 1997 (13/2007)

Finance Act 1995 (8/1995)

Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 (10/1993)

Finance Act 1983 (15/1983)

Ombudsman Act 1980 (26/1980)

Prosecution of Offences Act 1974 (22/1974)

Criminal Procedure Act 1967 (12/1967)

All Acts up to and including Residential Tenancies Act 2021 (5/2021), enacted 30 March 2021, were considered in the preparation of this revision.

Statutory instruments which affect or previously affected this revision

Justice and Equality (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 2020 (S.I. No. 452 of 2020)

Justice and Law Reform (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 138 of 2011)

Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 2010 (S.I. No. 216 of 2010)

Justice (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 298 of 1997)

All statutory instruments up to and including European Communities (Reception Conditions) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 178 of 2021), made 15 April 2021, were considered in the preparation of this revision.


Number 1 of 1963


OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1963

REVISED

Updated to 15 April 2021


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS


Acts Referred to

Official Secrets Acts, 1911

1911, c. 28

Official Secrets Acts, 1920

1920, c. 75

Offences Against the State Act, 1939

1939, No. 13

Police (Property) Act, 1897

1897, c. 30

Telegraph Act, 1869

1869, c. 73

Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1926

1926, No. 45


Number 1 of 1963.


OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1963

REVISED

Updated to 15 April 2021


AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION. [5 th February, 1963.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:—

Annotations:

Modifications (not altering text):

C1

Application of Act restricted by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), s. 508A(2), as inserted (6.09.2007) by Finance Act 2007 (11/2007), s. 19(1)(g), S.I. No. 614 of 2007. Note that this section continues to have effect only in the limited circumstances specified in Finance Act 2011 (6/2011), s. 33(2), as substituted (1.01.2012) by Finance Act 2012 (9/2012), s. 26(2), commenced as per s. 141(8).

Reporting of relief.

508A.—(1) A person (being a qualifying company or the managers of a designated fund) shall, when required to do so by notice in writing by the Revenue Commissioners, furnish the Revenue Commissioners within such time as may be specified in the notice (not being less than 30 days) with such information, in relation to the relief provided for in this Part, as the Revenue Commissioners may reasonably require from that person for the purpose of the annual reports required in accordance with section 7.1 of the Community Guidelines on State Aid to Promote Risk Capital Investments in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises 2.

(2) Notwithstanding any obligation as to secrecy imposed on them by the Tax Acts or the Official Secrets Act 1963, the Revenue Commissioners may furnish the information obtained in accordance with subsection (1) to the person submitting the annual reports referred to in that subsection.

...

C2

Application of Act restricted by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), s. 1003A(12), as inserted (5.10.2006) by Finance Act 2006  (6/2006), s. 122(1), S.I. No. 520 of 2006.

Payment of tax by means of donation of heritage property to an Irish heritage trust.

[1003A.— ...

(12) (a) The Revenue Commissioners shall as respects each year compile a list of the titles (if any), descriptions and values of the heritage properties (if any) in respect of which relief under this section has been given.

(b) Notwithstanding any obligation as to secrecy imposed on them by the Acts or the Official Secrets Act 1963 , the Revenue Commissioners shall include in their annual report to the Minister for Finance the list (if any) referred to in paragraph (a) for the year in respect of which the report is made. ]

C3

Application of Act restricted (1.12.2005) by Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004 (36/2004), s. 8(4), S.I. No. 568 of 2005.

Production of document, information, etc.

8.— ...

(4) Any obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction on the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to a Department of State or civil servant imposed by the Official Secrets Act 1963 shall not apply to a preliminary examination or an investigation by the Ombudsman under this Act and, subject to section 10(3), the State shall not be entitled in relation to any such preliminary examination or investigation to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by law in legal proceedings.

C4

Application of Act restricted (6.04.1997) by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), ss. 1003(12), 1086(3), commenced as per s. 1098.

Payment of tax by means of donation of heritage items.

1003.— ...

(12) (a) The Revenue Commissioners shall as respects each year compile a list of the titles (if any), descriptions and values of the heritage items (if any) in respect of which relief under this section has been given.

(b) Notwithstanding any obligation as to secrecy imposed on them by the Acts or the Official Secrets Act, 1963, the Revenue Commissioners shall include in their annual report to the Minister for Finance the list (if any) referred to in paragraph (a) for the year in respect of which the report is made.

...

Publication of names of tax defaulters.

1086.— ...

(3) Notwithstanding any obligation as to secrecy imposed on them by the Acts or the Official Secrets Act, 1963—

(a) the Revenue Commissioners shall, before the expiration of 3 months from the end of each relevant period, cause each such list referred to in subsection (2) in relation to that period to be published in Iris Oifigiúil, and

[(b) the Revenue Commissioners may, at any time after each such list referred to in subsection (2) has been published as provided for in paragraph (a), cause any such list to be publicised or reproduced, or both, in whole or in part, in such manner, form or format as they consider appropriate. ]

...

C5

Application of Act restricted (7.07.1983) by Ombudsman Act 1980 (26/1980), s. 7(4), S.I. No. 424 of 1983.

Powers of the Ombudsman in respect of examinations and investigations.

7.— ...

(4) Any obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction upon the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to a Department of State or civil servant imposed by the Official Secrets Act, 1963, shall not apply to an examination or investigation by the Ombudsman under this Act, and, subject to section 9(2) of this Act, the State shall not be entitled in relation to any such examination or investigation to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by law in legal proceedings.

...

Editorial Notes:

E1

Previous affecting provision: application of Act restricted by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), s. 507(2), as substituted (31.12.2011) by Finance Act 2011 (6/2011), s. 33(1)(a), commenced as per s. 33(2); and as further substituted (1.01.2012) by Finance Act 2012 (9/2012), s. 26(2), commenced as per s. 141(8); subs. (2) further amended (1.01.2017) by Finance Act 2016 (18/2016), s. 20(1)(b)(ii), commenced as per s. 59(8), removing reference to Official Secrets Act 1963.

E2

Previous affecting provision: application of Act extended (1.10.1998) by Europol Act 1997 (38/1997), s. 9(2), S.I. No. 345 of 1998; repealed (1.02.2013) by Europol Act 2012 (38/1997), s. 19, S.I. No. 15 of 2013.

E3

Previous affecting provision: application of Act restricted (2.06.1995) by Finance Act 1995 (8/1995), s. 176(12)(b), commenced on enactment; repealed (30.11.1997 with retrospective effect from 6.04.1997) by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), s. 1098 and sch. 30, commenced as per subs. (2).

E4

Previous affecting provision: application of Act restricted (6.04.1983) by Finance Act 1983 (15/1983), s. 23(3), commenced as per s. 122(6); substituted (10.05.1997) by Finance Act 1997 (22/1997), s. 158(b), commenced on enactment; repealed (30.11.1997 with retrospective effect from 6.04.1997) by Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (39/1997), s. 1098 and sch. 30, commenced as per subs. (2).