Information Commissioner rules right to privacy of TD who secretly photographed staff at Leinster House outweighs public’s right to know his identity

For some time now, Right to Know has been trying to identify the TDs and Senators who flouted public health guidelines in Leinster House and at the Convention Centre.

These incidents included:

  • One Fianna Fáil TD who said he would sooner go to jail than wear a mask.
  • A Labour party representative who was reported to be “aggressive” in telling a member of the compliance team they were not allowed in a meeting room.
  • A male TD who secretly took photographs of Leinster House staff, and against whom no action was taken.
  • Multiple reports of aggressive, dismissive, and abusive behaviour by TDs and Senators towards the compliance staff.

Redacted details of this have been published before but we were not happy with the response and believed that how named parliamentarians conduct themselves is a matter of significant public interest.

Our appeal to the Information Commissioner has unfortunately failed and the identities of all the above will remain secret.

And even though we are aware of who most of them are, they will have to remain unidentified because of Ireland’s draconian defamation laws.

In the decision, the Information Commissioner ruled that there was no public interest factor that outweighed the right to privacy of those named in these records.

Additional details were released however, including the party affiliation of certain TDs and Senators, along with specific units within the Oireachtas.

One point worthy of note is that the Oireachtas put a lot of emphasis on how their system of compliance for public health measures could be compromised if the names of those involved were disclosed.

However, long before this decision issued, that compliance system had effectively been dismantled.

The revised documents are published below.