Is It Lawful For MOD To Access Irish Data?


The Celtic League has asked Irelands Data Commissioner if it is lawful for the UK MOD to access data from Ireland to validate applications from citizens of the Republic of Ireland who apply to join the British Army.

Last year the British Army admitted to the Celtic League that it cross-referenced educational and employment data from Irish applicants (see link):

Under Irish law it is a criminal offence to encourage a person to join a foreign army – Section 312 (a) of the Defence Act 1954 says:

“It shall not be lawful for any person – to induce, procure or persuade any person in the State to accept or agree to accept any commission or engagement in any military, naval or air force maintained by the Government of any other State”.

The Celtic League believe the `cross referencing’ of data (even with the applicants consent) may breach this Act.

“Billy Hawkes
Data Protection Commissioner
Office of the Data Protection Commissioner
Canal House
Station Road
Co. Laois


Dear Commissioner Hawkes,

I draw your attention to the enclosed correspondence from the UK Ministry of Defence relating to recruitment of Irish citizens into the British Army. You will see from the correspondence that the MOD indicates that “with the applicants consent” they validate academic and employment records of Irish citizens.

Can I ask if citizens of Ireland in educational institutions or government departments (i.e. those holding employment records) who supply data to the UK MOD and may be acting in breach of Section 312 (a) of Defence Act 1954 can lawfully release such data?

Following on from this can an individual authorise the disclosure of his/her data to a foreign country if that disclosure may breach the laws of Ireland?

For information I also enclose a letter to the Department of Justice sent last year relating to this issue and suggesting they may wish to raise the matter with the UK.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

Related article on Celtic News here:

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights
human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on ocio-economic issues.

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