Sexual Predators Have ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Under EU Law: Irish Migrant Amnesty Minister

German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth (R) speaks with Ireland's Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee (L) and Slovakia's State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Frantisek Ruzicka as they arrive at a General Affairs Councilc (GAC) meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on …
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland’s Minister for Justice — who implemented a broad amnesty for illegal migrants earlier in the year — has told parliament that sexual predators have a “right to be forgotten”.

Helen McEntee, Ireland’s Minister for Justice, has told Ireland’s lower parliamentary house that sex offenders have a “right to be forgotten” under European Union law, and that the Irish Department of Justice aims to uphold that law.

This is despite Minister McEntee — who is a member of Ireland’s europhile Fine Gael party — having previously promised to do more to tackle “domestic, sexual and gender-based violence”.

Responding to a question on whether she would intervene on sex offenders having their data scrubbed from search engines, the minister said that she was determined “to prevent serious criminals from hiding their pasts” but contradicted herself by saying the relevant legislation was in the hands of the EU, and not the Irish government.

“The right to be forgotten is a data protection right, which the European Court of Justice developed in 2014 after the Google Spain case,” the minister said, though emphasised that companies could reject requests to have data scrubbed if it falls within the category of legitimate public interest.

“It is important to stress that there has to be a right for individuals to apply and, as set out clearly in the Google Spain case, it is not an absolute right,” the minister continued.

However, the member of parliament who asked the question of the minister, Denis Naughten TD, claimed that tech companies are not using the public interest rule to prevent criminals from deleting their past, and that such criminals should be refused “point-blank” from having their data scrubbed.

“They are exploiting the privacy laws and this cannot be tolerated under any circumstances,” the TD said. “Once the request is made and there is a historic element to it, they are granting individuals that right and that needs to be rejected, opposed, and blocked.”

“Google is not carrying out the assessment that the minister says should be carried out,” he alleged, before requesting that McEntee raise the issue with her counterparts in Europe.

Despite this plea though, the justice minister made no commitment to do so.

“Individuals must have a right to apply for the right to be forgotten,” she said. “However, it is very clear where it is relevant to the public interest, including previous convictions, that has to be applied. If companies are not applying this, a complaint can be made.”

Minister McEntee’s affirmation that sex offenders have a conditional right to be forgotten under EU law appears to stand in contrast with her promise to tackle what she calls “domestic, sexual and gender-based violence”.

“Tackling domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and supporting victims of crime are priorities for me and my department,” McEntee said at the time, according to the BBC.

Another priority of McEntee’s department has seemingly been the implementation of an “utterly outrageous” near-blanket amnesty for illegal migrants in Ireland.

Under its terms, even those with a criminal record who are illegally resident in the country will be allowed to apply for the amnesty — which will put those accepted on the pathway to Irish and, by extension, European Union citizenship.

This is despite the scheme supposedly requiring migrants to be of “good character”.

The deportation of criminals has also plummeted under the pro-EU justice minister, with some illegals being requested to “self-deport” after conviction with little follow-up.

“When a deportation order is issued, the obligation is on the person to remove himself or herself from the State,”  the director of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service said in 2018.

“Many people voluntarily remove themselves,” the director went on to claim.

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