Ireland: Anti-corruption bodies to be given snooping powers
04 Jun 2021

More state bodies will be given power to eavesdrop on private conversations while investigating corruption and white-collar crime.

The measure is included in a host of powerful anti-fraud measures due to come before the Dáil in the autumn.

At present the garda force, Revenue Commissioners and military can all plant eavesdropping and tracking devices in vehicles and property in exceptional circumstances. Such operations are carried out using warrants issued by a judge.

Garda headquarters and the Defence Forces are also permitted to intercept private telephone calls, emails and texts as part of surveillance operations. Permission for telephone intercepts, known as TIs, are signed by the justice and defence ministers.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) may be among the agencies allowed to use covert surveillance in some cases of white-collar crime, although security sources said that it would not have the staff or equipment to do so at present.

The decision to extend covert surveillance power to the ODCE and the Competition Authority is a first in the state’s history. It is unclear whether they will be permitted to target mobile phones used by suspects.

By John Mooney, The Times, 4 June 2021

Read more at The Times

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