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Time for Sinn Féin to decommission Abú voter database – Cummins

20th December 2021 - Senator John Cummins

Following a report from the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Sinn Féin must take steps to decommission their secretive voter database Abú, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John Cummins said, “The report from the DPC confirms Sinn Féin was in breach of laws set out under GDPR, and the party must now take immediate action to withdraw their Abú system from operation.

“Since the outset of this controversy back in April, I have consistently asked Sinn Fein to answer a series of questions regarding the use of their secretive voter database. The party have attempted to brush this matter under the carpet at every turn by repeating there is nothing to see here.

“Sinn Féin’s mantra that the Abú database is simply the electoral register never stood up to credible scrutiny and the DPC clearly agree that this is not the case.

“The DPC report has confirmed ‘Sinn Féin is the only political party that keeps a bespoke database that encompasses electors/voters data from all constituencies across the State.’

“More than 203,000 voters had their voting intentions listed inside this secret system. That is the equivalent the population of Cork city.

“The report also raises several questions about Sinn Féin’s data privacy practices, including whether there is a lawful basis for a party to create a central database of voters as Sinn Féin has done.

“Senior party members, including party leader Deputy Mary Lou McDonald and Deputies Ó Broin, Doherty, Cullinane and O’Reilly who previously stated the database was fully compliant with data protection requirements, must correct the record.

“Speaking on WLR FM earlier this year, Deputy David Cullinane stated that the concerns raised were ‘an absolute load of nonsense and it’s a big ball of smoke that people will see over the next number of days and weeks’. The DPC’s audit has confirmed this is not the case.

“Questions still remain about the financing of the Abú system. Sinn Fein are on record as saying that it was resourced by existing staff and wages and only costs the party €482 annually.

“However, now that it’s been found that they’ve been economical with the truth as to their data compliance, are Sinn Féin still saying that no external expertise or contractors were used during any part of the process in designing, developing, preparing and running the Abú database since inception to the present day?

“While I appreciate that people’s focus is understandably on Christmas, Covid-19 and the impact further restrictions are having on lives and livelihoods, issues such as this strike at the heart of our democracy and as a party who aspire to be in Government, Sinn Féin have to be held to account regarding this serious matter,” concluded Senator Cummins.

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