352. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she or her officials were ever informed, or if they were suspicious, of their mobile phones being monitored by the authorities of the United States of America or others; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26429/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am not aware of any specific information to the effect that my mobile phone or those of my officials have been monitored by the US authorities. It is generally understood that friendly relationships between states include acceptance of the principle that the privacy of communications must be respected and I would expect that to be the case.
As the Deputy will be aware concerns have been raised previously about the general issue of the possible monitoring of the communications of Irish citizens by the US Authorities. This is a matter that was raised by my predecessor with the US Attorney General, Eric Holder when the issues attracted some prominence during the course of Ireland's Presidency of the EU. In that regard, the US Attorney General provided clarity on a number of issues, in particular that any data collected was done so under judicial authority and only where there was a reasonable suspicion of serious crime, such as terrorism or cybersecurity/cybercrime.