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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Ireland DNA database

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IRHC) is concerned about the Irish Government's plans to introduce a DNA database for Ireland. The proposed DNA database law would allow Gardaí to retain DNA samples from both convicted criminals and from suspects, including those who are later found to be innocent.
The IRHC says that retaining samples from people who are innocent before the eyes of the law is is unacceptable and is an invasion of the right to privacy. It also warns the Government's plans lack sufficient safeguards to protect people from potential miscarriages of justice.

The warning comes ahead of the publication later this year of the Criminal Justice (Forensic Sampling and Evidence) Bill. The Commission was asked to comment on the proposed legislation and has submitted its report to Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan, calling for further safeguards to be included.
Mr Herrick of the IRHC said the database will allow the State to have access to highly sensitive and personal information and the current proposal to indefinitely retain samples is an unacceptable invasion of the right to privacy. The Commission recommends that in most cases samples taken from people who have not been convicted of a criminal offence should be removed from the database as soon as possible after legal proceedings. The Commission has also called for a full debate to increase public understanding of the issue.
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