The Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 (the “Act”), came into effect on 26 January 2011. The Act implements Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data generated or processed by or in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and repeals Part 7 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 (the “CJA 2005”), Ireland’s pre-existing data retention legislation.

What does the Act do?

The Act requires “service providers” (persons engaged in the provision of a publicly available electronic communications service or a public communications network by means of a fixed line, mobile telephones or the Internet) to retain specified data for specified periods (as set out below) and to make it available to the Irish police, Irish army and Irish taxation authorities in specified circumstances, by way of a “disclosure request”. 

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Main Provisions of the Act

The Act has provisions dealing with the following:-

  • the obligation to retain data;
  • security measures to be applied to the data;
  • access to the data – disclosure requests by the Irish police, army and taxation authorities;
  • reports and statistics to be prepared by members of the Irish police, army and taxation authorities;
  • the complaints procedure; and
  • review of the Act by a High Court judge and the duties of the judge.


The Act brings Irish law into line with EU directives on the matter and seeks to strengthen the digital hand of law enforcement agencies with respect to crime, whilst also more clearly delineating the circumstances in which a disclosure may occur.