Accessing Your Personal Information
Under Section 3 of the Data Protection Acts, you have a right to find out if a person (an individual or an organisation) holds information about you. You also have a right to be given a description of the information and to be told the purpose(s) for holding your information.
This request must be in writing and the relevant information must be furnished within 21 days.
Under Section 4 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003, you have a right to obtain a copy, clearly explained, of any information relating to you kept on computer or in a structured manual filing system or intended for such a system by any entity or organisation.
If you wish to take up a copy of your file/information from a company or organisation we will draft a specialised Data Access Subject Request tailored to your specific needs. For example where you wish to take up a file from a bank or lending institution you will need your name, address, mortgage account number. The usual fee for such a request is €6.35.
The relevant company/organisation has 40 days in which to comply with your request. Any delay beyond this time frame will constitute a breach of the Data Protection Acts.
Exceptions to the right of access
Sections 4 & 5 of the Data Protection Acts set out a small number of circumstances in which your right to see your personal records can be limited. This is necessary in order to strike a balance between the rights of the individual, on the one hand, and some important needs of civil society, on the other hand. For example, a criminal suspect does not have a right to see the information held about him by An Garda Síochána, where that would impede a criminal investigation. Similarly, you do not have a right to see communications between a lawyer and his or her client, where that communication would be subject to legal privilege in court. The right of access to medical data and social workers’ data is also restricted in some very limited circumstances, where the health and mental well-being of the individual might be affected by obtaining access to the data. Your right to obtain access to examination results and to see information relating to other people is also curtailed.