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Author Archives: Simon McGarr

Office Notice: Closed due to Storm Emma, reopening Monday

Four Courts Dome in snow

For the safety of our staff and clients, our office is closed today, Friday 2nd March, due to the snowstorm. We will reopen on Monday 5th March as usual. In the meantime, we’re still contactable by email on [email protected]


USA -v- Microsoft Supreme Court hearing, Digital Rights Ireland and ORG Amicus Brief

US Supreme Court building from the front portico

USA -v- Microsoft is an important ongoing case, listed for hearing today before the US Supreme Court. Microsoft have been very firm that the US government’s efforts to make domestic court orders effective outside of the US is not based on a correct interpretation of US law. While lower courts sided with the US, the Federal Appeals Court of the 2nd Circuit found in favour of Microsoft. You can read the amicus brief submitted by Digital Rights Ireland, Liberty and […]


The Data Sharing Agreement re the Public Services Card

It’s a requirement that public bodies sharing personal data, and relying on the provisions of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 to do so, have an agreement in place first. I wrote in 2014 about the (eventually)  fatal consequences for Irish Water’s attempts to rely on the 2005 Act in the absence of that Ministerial agreement. (It was illegal, and the hundreds of thousands of PPSN records Irish Water collected were subsequently scrapped.) So, having read through a good deal of documentation […]


The Public Services Card- An ID database and ID card

There is an excellent article by Elaine Edwards online (but not in the paper) regarding a pensioner whose pension payments have been stopped because she declined to submit to the biometric scanning and so on involved in being given an Public Services Card. This card has been, to be charitable, inaccurately referred to as voluntary by Minister Pascal Donoghue. However, if you don’t agree to submit to the carding process (which involves a biometric scan of your face, as well […]


Phishing Fraud Warning

Phishing warning- People are apparently receiving these emails purporting to be relating to McGarr Solicitors from a domain called They’re not from us. Don’t click them- just delete.


Submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Health re Part 2 of the General Scheme of the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill

This submission was made today, slightly after the deadline of 3pm. Nonetheless, I have submitted it for the consideration of the Oireachtas Committee on Health in response to their call for submissions. I post it here for reference. Printable version can be downloaded here: *** HEALTH INFORMATION AND PATIENT SAFETY BILL Analysis of Part 2: PERSONAL DATA, PERSONAL HEALTH DATA AND PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION By Simon McGarr, McGarr Solicitors Section 5 (1) “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as […]


McGarr Solicitors representing Syrian refugees

UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

McGarr Solicitors is acting for a number of Syrian refugees being held in Greece including Ensaf, 13, and her father Bashar. They are challenging the decisions of the European Council that have led to them being kept apart from Ensaf’s mother Layali and her brother Riyad, 15, now safely resettled in Germany. Last year their home in Syria was bombed, and the family’s priority was to use what little money they could scrape together to get their deeply traumatised son […]


Microsoft wins in US Warrant Case over data in Ireland

US 2nd Circuit Courthouse where Microsoft win their warrant appeal

As readers with long memories may recall, McGarr Solicitors and White and Case of NY represented Digital Rights Ireland, joined by Liberty and the Open Rights Group in their amicus application to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in support of Microsoft’s appeal against an order in respect of a Warrant seeking certain data which was located in Dublin. You can read about that, including the full text of the amicus brief as filed, at our […]


Application by EFF and DRI in DPC v Facebook and Schrems

On Friday 17th June 2016, McGarr Solicitors attended before Mr. Justice McGovern in the High Court on behalf of Digital Rights Ireland and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US non-profit. Counsel applied for leave to file papers to support applications by our clients to be joined as amici curiae in the case of Data Protection Commissioner -v- Facebook Ireland Limited and Maximillian Schrems. The DPC is seeking a reference to the CJEU arising from Mr. Schrems’ complaint regarding the transfer […]


Dept of Health and Data Protection Commissioner files on Individual Health Identifiers

Seeing as everyone is very busy with the election, I thought I’d give you something a bit different to read. So, thanks to an FOI request, please find below the documents details exactly what has and has not been agreed between the Department of Health and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in advance of the DPC receiving any complaints from the public. The files raise issues about the appropriateness of the relationship between the Independent regulator and the […]