Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Computer Centre.

Thursday, 19 July 1973

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 267 No. 9

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107.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  asked the Minister for Finance what Departments and other agencies are availing of the services of the computer centre at Kilmainham, Dublin; and for what purposes.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  The information sought is in the form of a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, will be circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Agency Purposes
General Medical Services (Payments) Board Payment of fees to doctors and chemists under the General Medical Services scheme.
Eastern Health Board Registration of Medical Card holders, including the issue of documentation to doctors, card holders, etc.
Department of Justice Garda payroll.
Department of Social Welfare Bank reconciliation.
Forest and Wildlife Service Management information system for foresters on labour and machinery utilization. Research on the suitability of seed varieties, planting methods, etc. to local conditions.
Medico Social Research Board Hospital In-Patient Statistics.
Paymaster General's Office Bank reconciliation.
North Western, Southern and Mid-Western Health Boards. Financial systems.
Civil Service Commission Processing of Civil Service examinations.
Department of Health Processing of a survey of duties of public health nurses.
Central Statistics Office Processing of the Census of Population returns and other statistical returns.
Department of Finance Economic analysis.
Office of Public Works Processing of cost benefit factors relating to the question of draining the Maigue.
Department of Education Educational planning and research.
Geological Survey Analysis of geological data.
Department of Agriculture Processing of herd owner file.
Economic and Social Research Institut Statistical analysis of economic and social data.
St. Patrick's Training College Educational research.
Valuation Office Production of Valuation Lists.
National Gallery Preparation of catalogue of oil paintings.
Foras Forbartha Analysis of Garda time spent on traffic enforcement.
Garda Síochána Processing of a survey of work of Garda Síochána.
Coiste um Thaighde ar Dhearcadh an Phobail Processing of language attitude survey.

[1511]Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Can the Minister give an assurance that unauthorised persons will not have access to the computers? We are living in the computer age and the danger to privacy is considerable. There is a computer linked with the mental health service and anyone who goes for psychiatric care——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That appears to be a separate question.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  As the information has been given in the form of a tabular statement I do not know what is in the statement and that is the reason I am raising this question. It is a matter of the protection of the rights of people——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Perhaps the Deputy would wait until he reads the tabular statement?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  If the Chair would allow me, I will give this assurance to Deputy O'Connell. There is no information concerning mental health on the public service computer. The computer to which the Deputy has referred is in the headquarters of the Eastern Health Board. When I inaugurated this computer service I gave a public declaration of my absolute determination to ensure that privacy is fully and absolutely respected in the computer centre and that nobody will have access to information there except the people who are authorised in the ordinary course of the public service to have such information. I can give the Deputy this assurance—there are locks and double-locks on all doors and places where information is stored.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am calling Question No. 108.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  I should like to ask a supplementary question because the area concerned is in my constituency, even though Deputy O'Connell put down the question. Is the Minister aware that the computer centre is within 100 yards of the Deputy's private home and that he put pressure on the former Minister for Finance to turn this area into a play centre?

[1512]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy is bringing in new matter.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  Would the Minister give an assurance that the Deputy's privacy will be protected?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I will let Deputy Lemass take that up with the Deputy concerned.


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