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Garda Síochána Act 2005

Confidentiality of certain information.

62.— (1) A person who is or was a member of the Garda Síochána or of its civilian staff or who is or was engaged under contract or other arrangement to work with or for the Garda Síochána shall not disclose, in or outside the State, any information obtained in the course of carrying out duties of that person’s office, employment, contract or other arrangement if the person knows the disclosure of that information is likely to have a harmful effect.

(2) For the purpose of this section, the disclosure of information referred to in subsection (1) does not have a harmful effect unless it—

(a) facilitates the commission of an offence,

(b) prejudices the safekeeping of a person in legal custody,

(c) impedes the prevention, detection or investigation of an offence,

(d) impedes the apprehension or prosecution of a suspected offender,

(e) prejudices the security of any system of communication of the Garda Síochána,

(f) results in the identification of a person—

(i) who is a witness in a criminal proceeding or who has given information in confidence to a member of the Garda Síochána, and

(ii) whose identity is not at the time of the disclosure a matter of public knowledge,

(g) results in the publication of information that—

(i) relates to a person who is a witness to or a victim of an offence, and

(ii) is of such a nature that its publication would be likely to discourage the person to whom the information relates or any other person from giving evidence or reporting an offence,

(h) results in the publication of personal information and constitutes an unwarranted and serious infringement of a person’s right to privacy,

(i) reveals information provided in confidence by another state, an international organisation, another police service or an intelligence service, or

(j) affects adversely the international relations or interests abroad of the State, including those with Northern Ireland.

(3) For the purpose of this section, a person is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to know that disclosure of information referred to in subsection (1) is likely to have a harmful effect if a reasonable person would, in all the circumstances, be aware that its disclosure could have that effect.

(4) Subsection (1) does not prohibit a person from disclosing information referred to in that subsection if the disclosure—

(a) is made to—

(i) the Minister,

(ii) the Attorney General,

(iii) the Director of Public Prosecutions,

(iv) the Chief State Solicitor,

(v) the Criminal Assets Bureau,

(vi) the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(vii) the Ombudsman Commission or an officer of the Commission,

(viii) the Garda Síochána Inspectorate or an officer of the Inspectorate,

(ix) the Revenue Commissioners, or

(x) a member of either of the Houses of the Oireachtas where relevant to the proper discharge of the member’s functions,

(b) is made to a court,

(c) is made to a tribunal appointed under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002,

(d) is made in the course of, and in accordance with, the duties of that person’s office or employment or his or her duties under a contract or other arrangement to work with or for the Garda Síochána,

(e) is authorised by the Garda Commissioner, or

(f) is otherwise authorised by law.

(5) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exeeding 12 months or both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

(6) A person who contravenes subsection (1) and who receives any gift, consideration or advantage as an inducement to disclose the information to which the contravention relates or as a reward for, or otherwise on account of, the disclosure of that information is guilty of an offence and is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exeeding 12 months or both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €75,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or both.

(7) The provisions of this section are in addition to, and not in substitution for, the provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1963 .

(8) In this section “personal information” has the meaning given to it by section 2(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and includes personal information relating to a deceased individual.