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Question

115. Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of the risks to archives services posed by current negotiation in Brussels on the draft European Union regulation on the processing of personal data, the data protection regulation; that proposed changes to the Council of Ministers’ text of Articles 5 and 6 may make it impossible for some services to continue to accept and preserve documents that are an important part of our national heritage and our history, and provide essential authentic evidence for citizens to discover their personal identity and background; her views that there may be a legitimate and overriding public interest in preserving documents containing personal data, and even highly sensitive personal data; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34819/15]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Dara Murphy): The position is that a General Approach on the proposed Data Protection Regulation was agreed by Justice Ministers of the Member States at last June's JHA Counsel meeting. It contains specific provisions, which we fully support, which are intended to permit the processing of personal data for archiving purposes in the public interest and also for scientific, statistical and historical purposes. Intensive discussions are currently taking place with the European Parliament in its capacity as co-legislator with a view to reaching agreement on the text of the Regulation. In that context, Ireland will continue to support inclusion of the specific provisions relating to archiving activity which are contained in the Council's General Approach.