Garda Síochána Act 2005

81

Confidentiality of information obtained by Ombudsman Commission.

81.— (1) A person who is or was a member or officer of the Ombudsman Commission or who is or was engaged under contract or other arrangement by the Commission shall not disclose, in or outside the State, information obtained in carrying out the duties of that person’s office or of his or her contract or other arrangement with the Commission if the disclosure is likely to have a harmful effect.

(2) For the purpose of this section, the disclosure of information referred to in subsection (1) does not have a harmful effect unless it—

( a) impedes an investigation under Part 4 or otherwise prejudices the effective performance of the Ombudsman Commission’s functions,

( b) results in the identification of a person—

(i) who is a complainant or the subject of a complaint, and

(ii) whose identity is not at the time of the disclosure a matter of public knowledge,

( c) results in the publication of information that—

(i) relates to a person who is a complainant or the subject of a complaint or who has given evidence to the Ombudsman Commission, and

(ii) is of such a nature that its publication would be likely to discourage the person to whom the information relates or any other person from reporting a complaint or giving evidence to the Ombudsman Commission,

or

( d) results in the publication of F125 [ personal information (within the meaning of section 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 ) ] obtained in the course of an investigation and constitutes an unwarranted and serious infringement of a person’s right to privacy.

(3) For the purpose of this section, a person is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to know that disclosure of information referred to in subsection (1) is likely to have a harmful effect if a reasonable person would, in all the circumstances, be aware that its disclosure could have that effect.

(4) Subsection (1) does not prohibit a person referred to in that subsection from disclosing information if the disclosure—

( a) is made to—

(i) the Garda Commissioner,

(ii) the Minister,

(iii) the Attorney General,

(iv) the Director of Public Prosecutions,

(v) the Chief State Solicitor,

(vi) the Criminal Assets Bureau,

(vii) the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(viii) the Garda Síochána Inspectorate or an officer of the Inspectorate,

(ix) the Revenue Commissioners, or

(x) a member of either of the Houses of the Oireachtas where relevant to the proper discharge of that member’s functions,

( b) is made under Part 4 to a person in relation to—

(i) a complaint made by the person, or

(ii) an investigation concerning the person,

( c) is made to a court,

F125 [ ( d ) is made to a tribunal appointed under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2011, a commission of investigation established under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 or a committee within the meaning of section 2 of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 for the purposes of a Part 2 inquiry, within the meaning of that section, under that Act, ]

( e) is made in the course of, and in accordance with, the duties of that person’s office or employment or of his or her duties under a contract or other arrangement to work with or for the Ombudsman Commission,

( f) is authorised by the Ombudsman Commission, or

( g) is otherwise authorised by law.

(5) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable—

( a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or

( b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

(6) A person who contravenes subsection (1) and who receives any gift, consideration or advantage as an inducement to disclose the information to which the contravention relates or as a reward for, or otherwise on account of, the disclosure of that information is guilty of an offence and is liable—

( a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exeeding 12 months or both, or

( b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €75,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or both.

(7) The provisions of this section are in addition to, and not in substitution for, the provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1963.

Annotations

Amendments:

F125

Substituted (23.12.2015) by Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 (49/2015), s. 46(a)-(b), S.I. No. 612 of 2015.