Data Protection Commissioner 'concern' over Garda access to PULSE system

Billy Hawkes, the Data Protection Commissioner.

The Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes says he is "concerned" about a number of "disturbing" instances where Gardaí inappropriately accessed the Garda PULSE system.

It follows an audit of the data protection in the force between 2011 and last October - which makes no direct reference to the whistleblower controversy.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has welcomed the report, and says a number of Gardaí have been disciplined.

Commissioner Callinan makes no direct reference to whistleblowers John Wilson and Maurice McCabe or calls for him to withdraw his comments describing their actions as "disgusting".

He says he has "expressed his disquiet" about accessing the PULSE database publicly "on several occasions".

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes has commended the Gardaí for their "full transparency and openness" during the audit.

It found a number of "disturbing" instances where the system was accessed inappropriately.

In one case two high-profile people, whose details were stored over minor incidents in which they were victims or witnesses, had their details accessed over 80 and 50 times respectively.

It found that three media personalities and an inter-county GAA player also had their records inappropriately accessed repeatedly.

In response, Martin Callinan says the Gardaí take their role as a holder of sensitive information very seriously, and a number of Gardaí have been subject to disciplinary action.

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