Report to the Gardaí and the DPC About the Destruction of Audio Recordings


If you are personally affected by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission’s destruction of all audio recordings of Confidential Committee interviews, please read on for how to alert the Data Protection Commission. The destruction of 550 interview records was noted in the Commission’s Final Report and reported upon in the Irish Examiner here.

This is URGENT. The Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation will cease to exist on 28 February 2021 (in 3 weeks’ time). Therefore to have the matter appropriately addressed you must quickly inform the Data Protection Commission. It is not necessary to spend time making a complaint firstly to the Commission of Investigation.

Garda Complaint

In addition to notifying the Data Protection Commission, if you are personally affected we also recommend that you consider reporting the Commission of Investigation’s destruction of evidence to An Garda Síochána. Under section 31 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, it is an offence for a person to destroy ‘information in any form, relating to any matter within a commission’s terms of reference’ before the commission is dissolved. The Dublin Metropolitan Region Headquarters of An Garda Síochána, based at Harcourt Square in Dublin 2, can be reached on 00 353 1 666 6666. After making a report, you are entitled to be told by the Gardaí about the PULSE incident number which records your report, among other information: for more about your rights please see here.

data protection commission

Instructions for how to lodge a complaint to the Data Protection Commission and request an investigation if you are personally affected:

  1. Click here to make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission:
  2. You will see the following questions which you must answer one-by-one:
    • You are contacting the Data Protection Commission as an individual
    • Yes, your contact concerns personal data
    • Yes, this contact is about your personal data.
    • The option that applies to your case is: I have a concern that my data has been unlawfully accessed, disclosed, lost or destroyed by an organisation
  3. Click CONTINUE
  4. Part One: About you requires you to provide:
    • Full Name
    • Phone number (optional)
    • Email address
    • Postal address (optional)
    • Your concern relates to Organisation name: Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation
  5. Part Two: Breach Details will ask you to state:
    • Have you complained before? (Say NO if you have not previously complained about this issue to the Data Protection Commission)
    • Have you received a notification of a breach of your personal data from an organisation? (This question is asking whether the Mother and Baby Homes Commission has written to you to tell you that your personal data was destroyed)
    • Have you contacted the organisation about this matter? (It is not necessary to spend time contacting the Commission of Investigation before complaining to the Data Protection Commission, but you can of course also complain to the Commission of Investigation as well)
  6. The online form finally asks: What is the basis of your complaint?
    • We recommend that you use the following questions as a guide to filling in the complaint box:
      • Did you give evidence to the Confidential Committee of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission?
      • If so, on what date?
      • Did you receive an information pack or information forms from the Commission?
      • Did those information forms mention audio recording?
      • Did the information forms state that the audio recording would be destroyed by the Commission?
      • When you were at the Commission’s premises for your interview, were you told that the audio recording would be destroyed?
      • Were you given a choice, in other words, were you asked whether you would like your audio recording to preserved in the Commission’s archive or whether you would like the audio recording to be destroyed?
      • How long, approximately, was your interview with the Commission?
      • Did you give the Commission sensitive details about your personal life?
      • After your interview with the Commission, did the Commission send you a transcript of your interview so that you could check that your testimony was recorded accurately?
      • After your interview, did the Commission send you a copy of the audio recording?
      • Have you received a copy of any of the records that the Commission holds in relation to you? If so, what have you received?
      • When did you find out that the Commission had destroyed all audio recordings of interviews given to its Confidential Committee?
      • Have you had any correspondence from the Commission about why or when they destroyed your audio recording?
      • How do you feel about the fact that the Commission destroyed all audio recordings of interviews given to the Confidential Committee?
  7. OPTIONAL: attach any records of the information forms you received from the Commission or any other correspondence you have had with the Commission.