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    Irish Times: Legislation to pave way for DNA database

    The Irish Times reports on a new bill that would create the country’s first DNA database. The legislation would allow gardai (police) “to take blood, hair or swab samples from suspects as well as prisoners currently serving a sentence for a serious offence.”

    When the bill becomes law, everyone arrested for a serious offence can be required to give a sample, which may link the person to the offence or to other unsolved crimes.

    Civil liberties groups have expressed concern about this database.

    But Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he has taken the privacy of individuals into account and steps will be taken to remove from the database material relating to any person acquitted or not charged with a crime.

    “The establishment of a database represents a major step forward in the fight against serious crime,” Minister Ahern said in a statement. […]

    “There is an entirely legitimate public interest in the creation of a DNA database that makes it easier to catch criminals; however, the sampling, retention and sharing of DNA requires special safeguards to ensure that the private lives of innocent people are protected” [said Mark Kelly, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.]

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