Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has expressed serious concerns over the alleged breach of national security which may have occurred, following the claims from Minister Simon Coveney that his mobile phone was hacked.
The Wicklow TD said:
“A senior government Minister has claimed that his mobile phone has been hacked. If this is in fact the case, there are a number of serious questions that need to be addressed.
“In the first instance, if the mobile phone of a senior member of government has been compromised, not only is this a singular breach of national security, but it also represents a potential threat to the security of the Cabinet.
“Secondly, the Taoiseach yesterday stated that he had not been made aware that Minister Coveney’s phone had been compromised.
“If this is the case, I have to say that I find it alarming that the Minister failed to inform the Taoiseach of a potential threat to the security of the Cabinet.
“Thirdly, we need to know if this alleged breach of national security has been reported to the authorities? It is imperative that there is a thorough investigation into this by both the Gardaí, and the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
“As Minister for both Foreign Affairs and Defence, Minister Coveney’s Departments are central to the security of the State, and any breach of security affecting either Department is a matter of the utmost concern.
“Failure to report this matter would represent a serious dereliction of duty on behalf of the Minister.
“To this end, I have written to both the Garda Commissioner and the Data Protection Commissioner, in order to determine that this matter has been reported in the appropriate manner, when it was reported, if there is an investigation in place, and what if any progress has been made to date.
“Consideration must also be given to the background to the events which have led to the revelation of this security breach.
“Having been asked to provide details of his communication by text message with the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and former Minister Katherine Zappone, Minister Coveney, initially claimed that he had deleted the messages due to storage capacity issues with his phone.
“Subsequently, Minister Coveney went on to allege that his phone had indeed been hacked. The contradictory manner of the Minister’s attempts to explain away his actions in relation to the Zappone controversy require clarification.
“I believe that it is of the utmost importance that this whole matter be thoroughly investigated. We are all aware of the impact that the recent hacking of the HSE has wrought.
If we now have a situation where government communications may also be compromised, we need to witness a swift response.”