Laws allowing gardaí to access phone records to be challenged in High Court

Journalist whose phone was monitored feels "under investigation"

Newstalk, garda, GSOC, journalist, reporter, tapping, Conor Feehan, The Herald, Breakfast

Journalist Conor Feehan via TheHerald.ie

Laws allowing gardaí to access the phone records of members of the public are to be challenged in the High Court.

It comes after two journalists discovered that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) had accessed their phone records.

Laws brought in last year give GSOC the same powers as garda superintendents to access phone and e-mail information.

One of the journalists who had his phone accessed - chief reporter with The Herald, Conor Feehan - says he was angry after learning of the invasion of his privacy.

"What we have to ask is who is under investigation in all of this" he told Newstalk Breakfast earlier.

"GSOC were set up yo monitor and examine the activities of gardaí, not journalists".

"But certainly I feel like I'm the one under investigation to a large degree in this particular circumstance because it's my phone they've been going through" he added.

Leo Varadkar said it would be 'odd and sinister' if government bodies were accessing the phones of journalists. The Minister said the monitoring of the phones of journalists would be an infringement on freedoms:

Law lecturer and chair of Digital Rights Ireland, TJ McIntyre, told Newstalk Lunchtime why they have challenged the law in the High Court.