Political party won’t say if it suspended employee as gardaí seize Dáil’s laptop for alleged child abuse material
A TD and his political party declined to say whether a man who works for them, accused of viewing child pornography material, has been suspended.
Ardaí seized a laptop from a man who is being investigated for alleged violations of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
The man has not been arrested and the TD they work for is not charged with any wrongdoing.
The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that two internal Leinster House committees were asked this week to waive the parliamentary privilege that applies to politicians’ documents so that gardaí can access the laptop issued by Oireachtas.
Investigators examine any electronic device the accused possesses or has access to.
An Garda Síochána confirmed in a statement: “The Gardaí in the North West are currently investigating allegations made against a local man regarding the viewing of child pornography online, contrary to the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons Act 1998. children and pornography.
The party and the TD did not respond to questions about whether the man had been suspended or had been subject to disciplinary proceedings.
The TD, which is the man’s employer, and two Oireachtas committees made up of TDs and senators had to waive parliamentary privilege, in order to allow gardaí access to the laptop and its contents at the using a digital access key issued by Oireachtas.
The privilege normally applies to all documents belonging to members of the Oireachtas.
The Dáil Committee on Parliamentary Privileges and Control (CPPO) approved the “request for official documents” in a brief meeting on Tuesday.
The equivalent Seanad committee met briefly on the same request.
Members of both commissions were verbally informed of An Garda Síochána’s request by the Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser and were informed that it was a “serious criminal act”.
No committee has been told the nature of the alleged offence, or the names of those involved, including the TD the man works for or their party affiliation.
“At first we were told they didn’t go into names,” a source said.
Both committees agreed to provide the access key to the gardaí on two conditions: the information could only be used for the purposes indicated by the gardaí when requesting it, and that a court order be provided to substantiate the request for access to documents.
A spokesman for the Houses of the Oireachtas said: ‘We are unable to comment on the confidential OCPP proceedings of either House.