A TD and his political party have declined to say whether a man who works for them and who is accused of viewing child abuse material has been suspended.
ardaí have confiscated a laptop from a man under investigation for alleged violations of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
The man has not been arrested and the TD they work for has not been charged with wrongdoing.
That Irish Independent announced yesterday that two internal committees of Leinster House were asked this week to waive parliamentary privilege covering politicians’ documents to allow Gardaí access to the Oireachtas-issued laptop.
Investigators will examine all electronic devices that the suspect owns or has access to.
A Garda Síochána confirmed in a statement: “Gardaí in the North West is currently investigating allegations made against a local man who relate to viewing child abuse material online in violation of the provisions of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act of 1998.”
Both the party and the TD did not respond to questions about whether the man was suspended or the subject of a disciplinary proceeding.
The TD, the man’s employer, and two Oireachtas committees, composed of TDs and Senators, had to relinquish parliamentary privileges to allow Gardaí access to the laptop and its contents with an Oireachtas-issued digital access key.
The privilege normally applies to all documents belonging to members of the Oireachtas.
The Dáil Committee on Parliamentary Prerogatives and Oversight (CPPO) approved the “Request for Official Documents” at a brief meeting on Tuesday.
The relevant Seanad committee met briefly on the same request.
Members of both committees were informed orally by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel of An Garda Síochána’s request and told that it was a “serious criminal offence”.
The committee was not informed of the nature of the alleged crime, the names of those involved, including the TD for whom the man works, or their party affiliations.
“Initially we were told they would not name names,” a source said.
Both committees agreed to the provision of the access key to gardaí, subject to two conditions: the information must only be used for the purposes specified by gardaí in its request, and a court order must be produced to support the request for access to the documents.
A House spokesman said: “We are not in a position to comment on the confidential proceedings of the CPPO of either House.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/political-party-wont-say-if-it-has-suspended-employee-as-gardai-seize-dail-laptop-42028160.html Political party won’t say if it suspended staff as Gardaí Dáil laptop confiscated