Government may consider laws to protect journalistic sources following INM allegations

Concerns about the allegations were raised in the Dáil by opposition leaders this afternoon

Government may consider laws to protect journalistic sources following INM allegations

Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Updated 21.50

The Taoiseach has said legislation may be needed to protect journalistic sources after the alleged data breach at Independent News and Media (INM).

Concerns about the allegations were raised in the Dáil this afternoon by the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Green Party.

Leo Varadkar also said the Director of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) needs to be personally indemnified from legal action while carrying out his job.

The Taoiseach also said more needs to be done to protect sources used by journalists.

He observed: "I think given recent revelations, yes we are going to have to give consideration to legislation in this area to protect sources.

"I'm not aware of any legislation being drafted currently by Government, and I haven't seen any legislation drafted by opposition in the form of private members bills in the past two years."

He added: "Perhaps the time has certainly come for Government to dust down those reports and give consideration to legislation in this area."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, meanwhile, says ensuring journalists can properly protect their sources is key.

He told the Dáil: "An independent and free media, we agree, is essential to the operation of a parliamentary democracy.

"In particular the protection of journalistic sources, editorial independence, and indeed the independence of journalists and their freedom from any undue interference is something that we should all hold dear."