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Widespread use of unsecured email accounts used for official business by Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Ministers ‘unacceptable’ – Brady

14 December, 2016 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and party spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has expressed shock at the widespread use of private unsecured email addresses for official business by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and other Ministers.

Last week, Deputy Brady submitted a Parliamentary Question to all Ministers including, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, asking if they had used any private unsecured email accounts for official business, Deputy Brady received replies to these questions last night.

Teachta Brady said:

“Last month, there was widespread criticism of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan for using a non-Garda email address to send and receive emails with sensitive information.

“However, what is just as concerning and serious is the fact that Minister for Justice & Equality and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has in fact, done the same in her own role.

“In reply to my question, the Tánaiste said that she had used a personal email address in her own role.

“This admission is shocking and extremely concerning given Frances Fitzgerald’s role as both Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality.

“The Taoiseach replied that he too, has used his private email account for official purposes and he put this down to so-called ‘operational reasons’.

“A number of other Ministers admitted to using private emails for official business of a ‘non-sensitive’ manner. Given that ‘non-sensitive’ is quite a loose term, this reply from Ministers Creed, Mitchell O’Connor, Humphreys, Bruton, and Harris is hardly convincing. What is seen as sensitive to one Minister could be seen very differently by another Minister.

“Many of the Ministers, in their replies, sought to include what could only be seen as an excuse when it comes to use of unsecured email addresses in that ‘there is currently no policy preventing members of Government using personal accounts’. This is simply unacceptable.

“No Minister should be using any private unsecured email accounts for any official business whatsoever. The fact that the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach feel they can do this is extremely concerning and I would call on them to make a public statement on this matter urgently.” 

Note: Please see attached the PQs in question

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