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Taioseach accuses SF of 'covering its tracks' in voter database controversy


Micheal Martin

Micheal Martin

Micheal Martin

The Taoiseach has accused Sinn Fein of "covering its tracks" and "flailing about" on the Abu voter database that profiles the voting intentions of citizens.

Micheal Martin said it was "concerning in itself' that it took two weeks for Mary Lou McDonald to admit her party was in breach of legislation on privacy.

"One gets the sense of flailing about the place, covering their tracks in respect of this issue," Mr Martin said. "Transparency would be the easiest route for them."

Mr Martin added: "This is the first unprecedented move, it seems to me that a party has nationalised an entire electoral register, cross-referencing it with social media platforms, with essentially a search engine profiling voters.

"That's on a scale that no (other) political party has done, and without any data compliance officer appointed to oversee it."

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It was a classic move by Sinn Féin to claim there were defi ciencies with other party web sites "to try to spread the attention or the focus away from themselves", he said.

"I think the problem here for Sinn Fein has been the slowness in responding to the media queries that were raised, and it took two weeks to admit that they didn't have a data protection compliance officer," he said.

Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin was asked on RTE's The Week in Politics about his party's two breaches of data protection regulations detected by the Data Protection Commission so far.

He claimed it was "a central charge" from political opponents that his party was data mining on social media, uploading that on to its electoral registration system and then all of that for micro-targeting.

"That is false. We do not do that. And the Abu electoral register system doesn't allow us to do that," he said. "The only information that we use the Abu system for is information in relation to voter intentions that we get canvassing people on the doors - just like Micheal's colleagues use on their local systems."

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