THE CIRCUIT COURT
AN CHUIRT CHUARDA
MIDLANDS CIRCUIT COUNTY OF LONGFORD
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPEAL AGAINST THE DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER
THE DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER
AFFIDAVIT OF MEL MCWEENEY
I, Mel McWeeney, of 15 Ardnacassa Lawns, Dublin Road, Co. Longford , aged eighteen years and upwards, MAKE OATH and say as follows:
I say that I am the Applicant in this matter. I make this Affidavit from facts within my own knowledge save where otherwise appears and where so appearing, I believe same to be true.
I wish to appeal a determination of the Respondent, made on 8 July 2016 that no contravention of the Data Protection Acts, 1988-2003, occurred in the refusal by Office of the Ombudsman to disclose a report generated about me by Longford County Council. I beg to refer to a copy of the said determination, upon which, marked with the letters “MMW-1”, I have signed my name prior to the swearing hereof.
The aforementioned report was identified by the Ombudsman as forming
part ofthe basis for declining to uphold a complaint I made against Longford County Council. I felt I was not afforded fair procedures and did not get an adequate opportunity to confront the evidence against me, before being prohibited by the aforementioned County Council from using the public swimming facilities. I lodged a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman accordingly. The Ombudsman did not uphold my complaint, and cited a report written by Dan Rooney, Secretary of Longford Sports and Leisure, as part of the basis on which it made its decision. I beg to refer to a letter, from the Office of the Ombudsman, upon which, marked with the letters “MMW-2”, I have signed my name prior to the swearing hereof.
I say that while parts of the report were summarized in correspondence, I was not given a copy of the said report. I requested access to the said report pursuant to the Freedom of information Act, 1997, but was refused. I also sought disclosure of the report under the Data Protections Acts, 1988-2003 and was refused by email dated 17 April 2014. I beg to refer to a copy of the said correspondence, upon which, marked with the letters “MMW-3”, I have signed my name prior to the swearing hereof.
I say that, arising out of this refusal, I lodged a complaint with the Respondent, continuing to seek access to the report and it is the refusal to uphold that complain against which I am now seeking to appeal.
I say that the subject matter of this dispute is the fact that I have been prohibited from using Longford swimming pool for an indeterminate period, a facility I have used on an every day basis over the years, due to what I say are groundless complaints.
I was informed by the pool management that a complaint had been made against me, alleging aggressive behavior passing other swimmers in the pool and the kicking of other pool users as I passed them in the lane. I dispute this.
I received written correspondence from the management of the aforementioned swimming pool on, indicating that complaints had been received. While I was given an opportunity to comment on what was alleged to have occurred, I believe I would have been answering to the very organisers of these same complaints. As such, I felt that I was not afforded fair procedures and that if I could have adequate access to the evidence against me, I could defend the allegations made and vindicate my good name.
I say that I did not get an adequate opportunity to be heard and consequent on this, the complaint was upheld against me by Longford County Council, who operates the swimming pool in question. I have now been prohibited from accessing the swimming pool for an indeterminate period.
I say that I made a complaint regarding the investigation by Longford County Council to the Office of the Ombudsman, who is responsible for regulating local authorities.
I say that the Ombudsman declined to uphold my complaint against the County Council. On this occasion, I did not get an opportunity to rebut allegations against me.
I say that I applied for access to this report pursuant to section 4 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988-2003. The Ombudsman refused to grant disclosure of the report and I appealed that refusal to the Respondent.
The Respondent upheld the Ombudsman’s refusal to grant disclosure on what I say and am advised was a misinterpretation of the law.
Grounds of Appeal
The Respondent erred in law in finding that no contravention of the Data Protection Acts, 1988-2003, occurred in the refusal by the Ombudsman to release the report generated by Longford County Council in respect of my case.
In the premises, I therefore pray this Honorable Court for:
An order overturning the refusal of the Respondent of 8 July 2016 to uphold my complaint;
An order, if necessary, remitting the complaint to the Respondent for further consideration;
The costs of this application;
Further or other order as this court shall deem meet.
Sworn by the said Mel McWeeney at on this the day of 2016
Before me a Commissioner for Oaths/ Practising Solicitor and I know the Deponent
Commissioner for Oaths/ Practising Solicitor
This Affidavit is filed by Shanley Glennon Solicitors, 1 New Street, Longford, Co. Longford N39 W875