TD requests phone tap investigation

RTÉ News reports that Dr. Jerry Cowley, Independent TD for Mayo, is to ask the complaints referee to investigate apparent official tapping of his telephone:

The independent Mayo TD Jerry Cowley has called for an investigation to establish if his phone is being tapped by gardaí.

He said he had raised the matter with the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, and got what he described as a ‘less than satisfactory reply’.

He said his suspicions that his phone might be being tapped had been raised by ‘a series of unusual coincidences’.

But he declined to give any further details of these. He said: ‘I want to know for certain if my phone is being tapped’.

Deputy Cowley has been closely associated with the Shell to Sea campaign which opposes the current Corrib Gas pipeline plans in Co Mayo.

In a democracy it is particularly worrying if the Government is monitoring our communications with our elected representatives with the potential that this will be used to undermine the opposition for political purposes. In the United Kingdom, the Wilson Doctrine addresses these concerns by prohibiting the tapping of MPs’ (and Peers’) telephones. But that rule has no counterpart in Ireland.