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Question

49. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there was any investigation within her Department regarding a surveillance programme within An Garda Síochána named Operation Mizen; the approach taken by An Garda Síochána to surveillance of protesters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42694/15]

Answer

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: As I have indicated to the House previously, and am happy to confirm again today, Operation Mizen is not a surveillance programme operated by An Garda Síochána, contrary to the assertions made by the Deputy or others in commentary on water protests. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that Operation Mizen was established by An Garda Síochána as a national co-ordination office to provide appropriate policing responses to maintain public order and to ensure the safety of all involved in protests against water charges. In this context, one approach which the Garda authorities adopt is to make use of open source information. Open source information is generally and publicly available on the Internet and social media platforms, not just to the Garda but to anyone, anywhere.
I am further informed that Operation Mizen does not engage in technical surveillance or interception and I can confirm that no public representative or member of the public is subject to such surveillance by Operation Mizen.