Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore says the Government needs to urgently respond to concerns raised by the Data Protection Commissioner today in relation to the imminent transfer of archives from the Mother and Baby Homes Commission to the Minister for Children.
In a radio interview this morning, Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said she had concerns about the risks associated with the Minister taking over as Data Controller of the archive of evidence given to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission when it is dissolved on Sunday.
Commenting, Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Children, said:
“The concerns raised by the Data Protection Commissioner today should serve as a wake-up call for the Government as to the scale of the task that lies ahead when the archive is transferred to the Minister.
“The Department’s lack of expertise or familiarity with the archive were among the concerns raised by the Data Protection Commissioner. She pointed out that, having investigated the issue for five years, the Mother and Baby Homes Commission are the experts on this archive, which is thought to contain 100,000 documents running to 900,000 pages. The Commissioner said the Department of Children needed to quickly mitigate the risks in taking over an archive of this nature.
“The concerns raised today further strengthen the case for extending the term of the Commission of Investigation to allow for a full assessment of the Department’s capability to manage an archive of this scale.
“Yesterday, the Government cynically allowed the Social Democrats’ motion to pass while refusing to give legislative effect to an extension. By running down the clock and allowing the Commission of Investigation to be dissolved on Sunday, the Government is setting itself up for future controversy and adding to the hurt caused to survivors of mother and baby homes.”
February 25, 2021