Public sector gears-up for new EU-wide data protection rules as Minister Dara Murphy hosts event for over 140 State and semi-State bodies 


The Minister for European Affairs, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, today hosted an information seminar for public sector bodies, designed to assist them in their preparations for new EU-wide data protection rules, which will come into force in May 2018. Today’s event took place in the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin and was attended by over 260 representatives from over 140 State and semi-State bodies. 

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister Murphy said: “Organisations, public and private, that handle personal data, have less than 18 months to prepare for new EU-wide data protection rules which will come into force in May 2018. Following agreement on the new EU General Data Protection Regulation earlier this year, we’re now very much in the implementation phase. Within Government, the Interdepartmental Committee on Data Issues, which I chair, is the key vehicle for preparations for the General Data Protection Regulation across Government Departments and for ensuring a consistent approach across the public sector.
“Central to our preparations for the new rules is to ensure that public sector bodies are aware of their new obligations and are encouraged to be pro-active in their preparations. That is what today’s event is about and I’m greatly encouraged by the very large turnout, with 269 representatives in attendance from 149 different organisations, which shows that we’re getting our message across.
Today’s event builds on two similar awareness raising events held earlier this year and last year, which were targeted at local authorities and the State and semi-State sector. Participants will hear directly from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, in terms of the expectations of the Office, as well from officials from the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Justice & Equality.
The Minister continued: “The new EU-wide rules, contain a number of additions and changes that apply specifically to the public sector. These are over and above the more general obligations under the Regulation around data security, access and use that apply across the board. For example, all public sector organisations will have to have a designated and qualified Data Protection Officer reporting into senior management.
As we increasingly move to streamline and improve how we deliver services right across the public service, with an ever greater adoption of innovative online solutions, it is really important that we build the appropriate data protection structures into these new processes. A major part of the work we all do in the Departments and agencies relies on personal data to greater or lesser degrees. People need to trust in our services and have confidence that their data will be secure and treated appropriately. We have a real opportunity to build on the work that is already being done across the public sector to make sure we have this trust and confidence.”