Official Secrets Act 1963
2.—(1) In this Act—
“document” includes part of a document;
“Minister” means a member of the Government;
“model” includes design, pattern or specimen;
“official document” includes a passport, official pass, permit, document of identity, certificate, licence or other similar document, whether or not completed or issued for use, and also includes an endorsement thereon or addition thereto;
“official information” means any secret official code word or password, and any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information which is secret or confidential or is expressed to be either and which is or has been in the possession, custody or control of a holder of a public office, or to which he has or had access, by virtue of his office, and includes information recorded by film or magnetic tape or by any other recording medium;
“public office” means an office or employment which is wholly remunerated out of the Central Fund or out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, or an appointment to, or employment under, any commission, committee or tribunal set up by the Government or a Minister for the purposes of any inquiry, but does not include membership of either House of the Oireachtas.
“sketch” includes a photograph or other mode of representing any place or thing;
“State authority” means the Attorney General, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Revenue Commissioners, the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland or the Irish Land Commission.
(2) In this Act—
expressions referring to communicating or receiving include any communicating or receiving, whether in whole or in part and whether the sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information itself or the substance, effect or description thereof only be communicated or received;
expressions referring to obtaining or retaining any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document include the copying or causing to be copied of the whole or any part of any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document; and
expressions referring to the communication of any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document include the transfer or transmission thereof.
(3) A certificate given by a Minister under his seal that any official code word or password or any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information specified or indicated in the certificate is secret or confidential shall be conclusive evidence of the fact so certified.
Modifications (not altering text):
Term ‘official information’ construed (1.12.2014) by Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008 (7/2008), s. 23(5) and s. 27(9), S.I. No. 541 of 2014.
Request to member state for interception.
23.—(1) This section applies where—
(a) for the purpose of a criminal investigation the Minister has given an authorisation of an interception under section 2 of the Act of 1993,
(b) the person specified in the authorisation is present in the State or a member state, and
(c) technical assistance from a member state is needed to intercept the telecommunications messages concerned.
(2) Where this section applies, the Minister may cause a request to be made to a competent authority in the member state for—
(a) the interception by that authority and immediate transmission to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána or a member of the Garda Síochána nominated by him or her of telecommunications messages to or from the telecommunications address concerned, or
(b) the interception and recording of the messages and the transmission of the recording to the Commissioner or member.
(5) Information received in response to the request is deemed to be official information for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1963.
Notification by member state of interception.
27.—(1) This section applies where—
(a) the competent authority in a member state has authorised an interception,
(b) the telecommunications address of the person specified in the authorisation is being used on the territory of the State,
(c) technical assistance from the State is not required to carry out the interception, and
(d) the competent authority notifies the Minister accordingly in accordance with Article 20 of the 2000 Convention.
(6) The Minister may request the competent authority to supply a summary of the facts of the case and any further information necessary to enable him or her to decide whether an authorisation would be given under section 2 of the Act of 1993 in similar circumstances.
(9) Information provided under this section by the competent authority is deemed to be official information for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1963.
Term ‘official information’ construed (1.02.2013) by Europol Act 2012 (53/2012), s. 15(1), S.I. No. 15 of 2013.
15.—(1) Information which comes to the knowledge of any of the following persons in the performance of their functions as—
(a) the Director of Europol,
(b) a member of the Management Board of Europol,
(c) a Deputy Director of Europol,
(d) an employee of Europol,
(e) a person who, in respect of another Member State, performs the functions for that Member State, that a liaison officer performs in relation to the State, or
(f) another person under a particular obligation of discretion or confidentiality under this Act or the Council Decision,
shall be deemed to be official information within the meaning of the Official Secrets Act 1963 and the provisions of that Act shall apply accordingly to such information.
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.