Phone tapping allegations

March 28, 2007 at 11:26 am | Posted in Statements | 1 Comment

I read with great disquiet yesterday’s report in The Connaught Telegraph of possible phone tapping of those involved in the campaign against the Corrib gas project. It appears from the report that I might be one of those whose phone has been tapped.


If this is true then this raises matters of great concern. On what basis are decisions made to access phone records or to tap phone conversations? Is it not envisaged in the relevant legislation that there should be, in order to justify such interceptions, good grounds to suspect criminal activity? I for one have never been involved in criminal activity of any kind. My efforts in the Corrib gas campaign have been exclusively centred on using political and legal means to redress the problem.


In addition, it would be a grave matter if my work telephone at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology has been tapped, as this would infringe not only my personal privacy but also the fundamental principle of academic freedom. Furthermore, has my telephone been tapped subsequent to the announcing of my intention to seek a seat in Seanad Eireann in the NUI constituency?


I welcome the efforts of Dr Jerry Cowley to pursue this matter and I look forward to immediate clarification from the Minister for Justice on the issue.



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  1. Hi Mark,

    Recently I read the following on the blog of the civil liberties group Digital Rights Ireland.

    Justice Minister Michael McDowell recently refused to reveal the number of phones taps he has authorised during his time in office.

    In Britain, the statistics on phone tapping are revealed annually by an eavesdropping watchdog, the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

    The civil liberties group Digital Rights Ireland said that Mr McDowell’s reason for withholding the information was unacceptable.

    “It’s been perfectly possible to do this in England in detail with no threat to the public interest or national security. So that justification just doesn’t hold water,” said chairman TJ McIntyre.

    There was a designated judge who issued a report on the phone tapping each year, he said. “It’s literally a one line report in which he says he has reviewed the system, with no details and no indication of mistakes made or steps taken to correct them.”

    There is also a complaints referee, Circuit Court Judge Carroll Moran, who people can contact.

    “But the Department of Justice haven’t explained how people find out if their phone is being tapped. It makes a mockery of the whole system,” Mr McIntyre said.

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