Hous­ing is­sue sparks data pro­tec­tion spat

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By STEPHEN FERNANE

A ROW over data pro­tec­tion in re­la­tion to hous­ing ap­pli­ca­tions was sparked at Mon­day’s meet­ing of Kerry County Coun­cil when Cllr Mike Ken­nelly said he knew of a woman con­tacted by a TD claim­ing to have acted on her be­half in get­ting a house, which Cllr Ken­nelly said called into ques­tion is­sues sur­round­ing data pro­tec­tion.

“It’s a dis­grace that there are dif­fer­ent times when coun­cil­lors are told about hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions. This woman said she re­ceived the call from the deputy within hours of re­ceiv­ing a home. How was this? And how did the deputy get the woman’s con­tact de­tails?” Cllr Ken­nelly asked.

Coun­cil man­age­ment said there are very strict guide­lines in place re­gard­ing hous­ing and data pro­tec­tion of ap­pli­cants, adding the al­lo­ca­tion of hous­ing is an ex­ec­u­tive func­tion and all elected mem­bers are no­ti­fied at the same time.

“If a mem­ber of the pub­lic has con­cerns, they should con­tact the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sion. Peo­ple should use the chan­nels open to them and make a for­mal com­plaint. The data we have is pri­vate to the in­di­vid­ual and stays within their hous­ing file” said man­age­ment.

How­ever, Cllr Toiréasa Fer­ris said she did not be­lieve this, claim­ing there is a clear data breach. “Peo­ple are afraid to make com­plaints in case it comes back to bite them. Some­thing needs to be done about this. There seems to be a con­sis­tency in who is get­ting the in­for­ma­tion and this should be a worry to man­age­ment,” said Cllr Fer­ris.

In re­sponse, man­age­ment said the in­for­ma­tion re­quested to sub­stan­ti­ate Cllr Fer­ris’ as­ser­tion had not been given to the coun­cil, to which Ms Fer­ris replied the in­di­vid­ual did not want to give de­tails for the very rea­sons she out­lined.

Cllr Michael Cahill added he knew of cases where for­eign na­tion­als’ mo­bile num­bers had been sourced in re­la­tion to hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions

Mean­while, re­spond­ing to a mo­tion by Cllr Jimmy Moloney ask­ing that elected mem­bers of Kerry County Coun­cil be in­formed when­ever a pur­chase of a new house is com­plete, man­age­ment said the ap­proach to data pro­tec­tion in re­spect of hous­ing ap­pli­cant in­for­ma­tion was cur­rently un­der re­view.

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