The purpose of the Criminal Records (Exchange of Information) Act 2019.Act is to provide for the exchange of criminal record information between Ireland and other EU Member States. The Act will transpose Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between Member States and Council Decision 2009/316/JHA on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in application of Article 11 of Framework Decision 2009/315/ JHA. These EU instruments provide for this information exchange between Member States.
The Central Authority is designated as required by the Framework Decision. The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána is designated as the Central Authority for the purposes of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS). The Commissioner can delegate these functions to someone else to perform on their behalf.
There are provisions the recording, when available, of the nationality/ nationalities of EU nationals who are convicted of an offence. This information is required to ensure relevant Central Authorities throughout the EU can have up-to-date information in relation to a person’s convictions.
Transmit to Central Authority
The Irish Central Authority, when available, must transmit criminal record information to the relevant Central Authority in the Member State of a person’s nationality. Any update and subsequent change including deletion of this information must also be transmitted to the relevant Member State’s Central Authority. On request from the other authority, the Irish Central Authority must transmit copies of relevant documentation in relation to any sentence, appeal etc.
Information received from other Member States relating to convictions in Member States of Irish nationals is to be stored so that the Irish Central Authority’s records are up-to-date and this information can be re-transmitted if required.
The Irish Central Authority may, and in some cases, shall request information on convictions from other Central Authorities. The format in which these requests should be is spedified.
Categories of Information
Specified categories of information in relation to a person who is a national of the State, can be transmitted to other Central Authorities. Where a request to which this section applies is made for the purposes of criminal proceedings in the requesting Member State, the Central Authority shall transmit to the central authority of the requesting Member State the following information (if any) in relation to the person who is the subject of the request:
- information relating to convictions in the State contained in the Criminal Records Database;
- information relating to convictions in a Member State transmitted to the Central Authority after 27 April 2012 under Article 4 of the Framework Decision and stored ;
- information relating to convictions in a Member State transmitted to the Central Authority on or before 27 April 2012 and contained in the Criminal Records Database;
- information relating to convictions in a third country transmitted to the Central Authority and contained in the Criminal Records Database.
Where a request is made for a purpose specified, the Central Authority shall, transmit to the central authority of the requesting Member State the above information (if any) in relation to the person the subject of the request.
The Central Authority shall not transmit information) relating to convictions in the “convicting Member State” where the central authority of the convicting Member State who transmitted that information to the Central Authority informed it that the information may not be retransmitted for any purposes other than the purpose of criminal proceedings.
In this case applies, the Central Authority shall inform the central authority of the requesting Member State of the convicting Member State who transmitted the information concerned sepcifed t under Article 4 of the Framework Decision, so as to enable the central authority of the requesting Member State to submit a request for such information directly to the convicting Member State.
There are limitations on the re-transmission of information received from another Member State. However, in such cases, the Irish Central Authority must inform the requesting Central Authority of the original Member State who provided the information, so the requesting authority can then make a request directly to that other Member State.
The categories of information, which can be transmitted, to other Central Authorities on receiving a request from them for information in relation to a person who is not a national of the State is specifed. It provides for the format in which these replies should be made. There are deadlines to respond to requests for information.
There is electronic transfer of information, whether this involves the transmission of records, a request for information, a reply to a request for information or the updating of information. Such transmissions are be referenced in accordance with the common codes agreed by Member States and contained in the implementing Council Decision 2009/316/JHA. This Decision and these codes are included in Schedule 4 of the Act.
Personal Data I
There are safeguards on how and when personal data which is received and transmitted, can be used. Such transmissions are to be in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act of 2018.
Personal data transmitted under the Framework Decision to the Central Authority for the purposes of criminal proceedings may be used only for the purposes of the criminal proceedings for which it was requested by the Central Authority as specified in the form.
Personal data transmitted under the Framework Decision to the Central Authority for a purpose specified in the Schedule may be used only for the purposes for which it was requested by the Central Authority, as specified in the form and subject to the limitations specified by the central authority who transmitted such information.
Personal Data II
Personal data transmitted under Article 7(1), (2) and (4) of the Framework Decision to the Central Authority may be used for the purpose of preventing an immediate and serious threat to public security.
Where personal data, received by the Central Authority from a central authority of a Member State under the Framework Decision, is transmitted yo a third country, the Central Authority shall, when transmitting such information to the third country, specify that such personal data—
- if transmitted for the purposes of criminal proceedings, may only be used by that third country for the purposes of the criminal proceedings for which it was requested, and
- if transmitted for a purpose specified in Schedule 3 , may only be used by that third country for the purposes for which it was requested and subject to any limitations specified by the central authority who originally transmitted such information to the Central Authority.
This does not apply to personal data obtained by the Central Authority under the Framework Decision that originated from the State. This is without prejudice to the General Data Protection Regulation and the Act of 2018 insofar as that Regulation and, as the case may be, that Act apply to personal data (within the meaning of that Regulation) referred to in this section.
If the Irish Central Authority receives a request for information from a country other than an EU Member State in relation to a person who is a national of the State, the Irish Central Authority can only provide information subject to the limitations outlined which relate to any limits placed on this information by other Member States, e.g. can only be used for criminal proceedings etc.
The Act does not affect any obligation or power to provide or request information under any other law. This is to ensure that this Act does not impact negatively on any other piece of legislation.