Donohoe can no longer hide behind GDPR on Apple fees

28 November 2019

Labour Party TD for Tipperary and Vice-Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Alan Kelly TD, has said the Government should now release the details of the legal fees paid out for the Apple case.

This comes as the Office of the Data Commissioner has agreed with Deputy Kelly’s view that the Department of Finance should publish the details.

Deputy Kelly said:

“After months of trying to chase the figures of what payments were made to barristers on behalf of the State on the Apple case, I have continuously been stonewalled by the Department of Finance under the guise of GDPR. After months of poorly answered PQs, I brought this issue to the Public Accounts Committee.

“Today, the Public Accounts Committee has received correspondence from the Office of the Data Commissioner that under the law the Government is able to release this information and a precedent has already been set in this regard by other departments and state bodies.

“It is vital that the public are aware how and where their money is being spent. The Government trying to hide behind GDPR is not the reason for why GDPR exists.

“I was absolutely shocked that this information was denied to me. I was further shocked that the attorney general’s advice was that this information cannot be given out.

“The question needs to be asked as to why Fine Gael were trying to keep this information under wraps in the first place? The answers we have got from Government so far don’t stack up.

“The Government’s reasons for withholding this information have been completely dismissed by the Data Protection Commissioner. The best thing Minister Donohoe and his officials can do now is to publish the information.

“This should be a lesson to Fine Gael that they can’t continue to hide behind complicated legislation like GDPR in order to hide how they are spending the public’s money.”

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