The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is to get a €1.2m increase in funding for 2016. Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy announced the measure, under Budget 2016, and said that the increased resources are bring provided to "ensure that Ireland continues to have an excellent regulatory and enforcement regime for data protection, and that we are fully equipped to adapt to the ever-increasing pace of change in the digital economy".
Minister Murphy said that last year's increase in funding of €1.76m had facilitated the recruitment of additional staff by Helen Dixon's office and had enabled it to open a second office in Dublin, in addition to the existing office in Portarlington, Co. Laois. The Minister said that "the Government has set out a clear road map for the future of data protection in Ireland, that will both protect the rights of our citizens and enhance the opportunities for secure, quality employment in the ever-widening range of digital industries".
All funding for the Office comes from the Irish exchequer. The €1.2m increase brings the total amount of funding to over €4.7m. Speaking about last year's increase in January of this year, the Data Protection Commissioner said; "The next few years will be extremely challenging for data protection regulators across Europe as we prepare for pan-European cooperation under a proposed new General Data Protection Regulation. It is critical that the Office is fully equipped to play its part in regulating cross-border data flows and ensuring the fundamental right to data protection of all European data subjects is upheld."
With the continued negotiations on the Draft General Data Protection Regulation, which we have blogged about here, and last week's CJEU decision in Schrems v the Data Protection Commissioner which found Safe Harbour to be invalid (read our commentary here and here), these sentiments are more relevant than ever.