herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Credit Union showed private data to my dad, says garda

A Credit Union allegedly showed a member's father his confidential financial statements, indicating the son's loans were in trouble, the High Court heard
A Credit Union allegedly showed a member's father his confidential financial statements, indicating the son's loans were in trouble, the High Court heard

A CREDIT Union allegedly showed a member's father his confidential financial statements, indicating the son's loans were in trouble, the High Court heard.

Garda Kevin Martin, a member of St Raphael's Garda Credit Union, claims his data protection rights were breached when a representative of the credit union turned up at his father's home and showed him the documentation.

Gda Martin, who is based in Dublin, is seeking an order that the Data Protection Commissioner conduct an oral hearing into his complaint.

Jim O'Callaghan SC - instructed by Fintan Lawlor of Lawlor Partners Solicitors - was granted leave to challenge the Commissioner's decision by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.

Gda Martin says he has been a member of St Raphael's since 2004 and in January 2012, the credit union wrote to him asking it to contact one of its representatives in relation to his loan account. He made a number of efforts to contact the representative without success.

This was the last communication he received until he got a phone call from his father saying a man from the credit union had called to his father's house asking to speak to Gda Martin about his loans which were "in trouble".

It is claimed the man said Gda Martin's loans were substantial and he also showed the father a folder containing his financial statements. The man also claimed Garda Martin had ignored the credit union's attempts to contact him.

complaint

Gda Martin complained to the Data Protection Commissioner who contacted St Raphael's.

The Commissioner told the garda's solicitor it was not possible for him (Commissioner) to form a definitive opinion on the complaint because it concerned an allegation of a verbal disclosure. Gda Martin argued the Commissioner should conduct an oral hearing so a fuller investigation of his complaint can be carried out but this was refused.

It is claimed that in refusing a hearing, the Commissioner had breached Gda Martin's rights to natural and constitutional justice. The matter comes back before the court next month.

hnews@herald.ie

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