Postscript: Irish Water and the Data Protection Act


DrowningInDebt-irishwaterI have continued to research the questions raised in my previous blogs on Irish Water, namely whether Irish Water were entitled to ask for your PPS number and secondly, whether Revenue had breached the Data Protection Act by providing names, addresses and property details to Irish Water.


In response to the first question about PPS numbers:
Section 20 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014, which passed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in July, contains a provision which specifically authorises Irish Water to use the PPS number.

.20. Schedule 5 to the Principal Act is amended in paragraph 1(4) by inserting “Irish Water,” after “Health and Social Care Professionals Council,”.


As far as the second question concerning Revenue releasing those details:
Under Section 26 of the Water Services Act 2013 (1), Irish Water is empowered to seek data from a number of different bodies. As of September 2014, these bodies include:
The Revenue Commissioners
The Residential Property Tenancies Board
The Property Services Regulatory Authority
Local Authorities
The Local Government Management Agency
Electricity Service providers
The Department of Social Protection
Gas service providers

I am afraid that means that these apparent loopholes have been blocked. Sorry about that!

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
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2 Responses to Postscript: Irish Water and the Data Protection Act

  1. Red Hen says:

    The question of Data Protection access for Irish Water, or any other body, for that matter, wouldn’t bother me so much if the data they got was right in the first place. Revenue, I suspect, allowed their incorrect data on me to be sent to the county council who in turn billed me and threatened to fine me for tax payable on a property I didn’t own. Even though I’d notified the revenue people of their mistake months before that.

    So yes, my data floating about in the money sapping mire bothers me a lot now.

    • Neil van Dokkum says:

      Thanks Red Hen. It is very worrying indeed when one sees the list of organisations that Irish Water can ask for private information on citizens when one considers that they will probably not hesitate to use it for commercial purposes, not to mention the possibility of Irish Water being sold in the not too distant future.

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