May 23, 2024
Clarification on alleged illegal recordings needed from WCC and Chief Fire Officer – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, John Brady has expressed concern at reports of the alleged clandestine recording of conversations in the cabs of fire engines in county Wicklow. 

Teachta Brady further called for the Chief Fire Officer for Wicklow to clarify if the alleged recordings were authorised, and if so who was responsible for the authorisation. According to emerging reports approx. 100 members of the Retained Fire Service are considering lodging complaints about their employer under data protection legislation.

That frontline emergency responders would be treated in this manner is a potential scandal of huge proportion.

Teachta Brady said:

“Reports that members of the Wicklow Retained Fire Service were allegedly subject to clandestine surveillance is deeply disturbing.

“There are strict rules in place in respect of personal privacy, including the retention of personal data under GDPR.

“There are a number of serious questions that need to be answered here immediately; Was the alleged illegal recording of members of the Retained Fire Service in their workplace authorised? If so, who authorised the alleged illegal recording? 

“Who was aware of the alleged recordings? Who has had access to the recordings? And where are the recordings currently stored, and will they be made available to a potential future investigation or inquiry?

“We need to know how many conversations were recorded, and how many fire engines were configured to record the private conversations of retained firefighters?

“I also believe that Wicklow County Council needs to clarify if any other employees of the Council have been placed under clandestine surveillance at any time?

“If these allegations are true, any employees of Wicklow County Council including members of the Retained Fire Service, who were victim of this gross abuse of employer privilege need to be contacted and made aware of the situation, and the relevant recordings made available to them.

“I have written to Minister Darragh O’Brien on this matter along with the Chief Executive Officer of Wicklow County Council.

“If these alleged instances of clandestine surveillance are proven to have occurred, they represent a gross invasion of the rights and privacy of employees of Wicklow County Council.

“The clandestine surveillance of workers including the recording of their private conversations is an abuse of power and is totally unacceptable.

“I am calling on the Minister, and Wicklow County Council to investigate these allegations, and make their findings public with the utmost urgency.” 

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