Data Protection Act 2018
Accountability of Commissioner to Oireachtas Committees
19. (1) In this section, “Committee” means a Committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than a committee referred to in section 19(1) of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993 or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a sub-committee of such a Committee.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), a Commissioner shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Commission.
(3) The Commissioner shall not be required to give account before a Committee for any matter which is or has been or may at a future time be the subject of proceedings before a court or tribunal.
(4) Where the Commissioner is of the opinion that a matter in respect of which he or she is requested to give an account before a Committee is a matter to which subsection (3) applies, he or she shall inform the Committee of that opinion and the reasons for the opinion and, unless the information is conveyed to the Committee at a time when the Commissioner is before it, the information shall be so conveyed in writing.
(5) Where the Commissioner has informed a Committee of his or her opinion in accordance with subsection (4) and the Committee does not withdraw the request referred to in subsection (2) in so far as it relates to a matter the subject of that opinion—
(a) the Commissioner may, not later than 21 days after being informed by the Committee of its decision not to do so, apply to the High Court in a summary manner for determination of the question whether the matter is one to which subsection (3) applies, or
(b) the Chairperson of the Committee may, on behalf of the Committee, make such an application,
and the High Court shall determine the matter.
(6) Pending the determination of an application under subsection (5), the Commissioner shall not attend before the Committee to give account for the matter the subject of the application.
(7) If the High Court determines that the matter concerned is one to which subsection (3) applies, the Committee shall withdraw the request referred to in subsection (2), but if the High Court determines that subsection (3) does not apply, the Commissioner shall attend before the Committee and give account for the matter.
(8) In this section, a reference to “Commissioner” shall, where more than one Commissioner has been appointed under section 15, be taken to be a reference to the chairperson.