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Ireland to block EU-Israel data hoover

Fears over passport shenanigans

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Ireland is moving to block a planned agreement on data sharing due to be signed between Israel and the European Union.

Ireland's minister of justice Dermott Ahern said he was profoundly concerned about the proposed data transfer. He said Israel needed to prove its data protection principles, especially in the light of the alleged forgery of Irish passports by Israeli security forces.

A spokesman for Dermott Ahern told the Irish Times: “It may well be the case that Israel provides data protections which meet EU standards. But the Minister believes the EU committee has to take very serious account of the forgery of EU passports – including Irish ones – by Israel in recent months. Personal data provided innocently to Israeli officials by Irish citizens was used in forging passports. Other EU countries, particularly the UK, had similar experiences and that is a matter of the gravest concern.”

The objection means the agreement must now be looked at by a data protection committee rather than automatically coming into force.

Ireland expelled an Israeli diplomat over the passport row after a Garda report found little reason to doubt that an Israeli government agency was responsible for forging the passports.

Irish officials are also seeking an explanation as to how and why one of the Russian spies recently expelled from the USA had an Irish passport.

Israel has never admitted any role in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai earlier this year. The team used various passports including Australian, British, Irish and French documents. At least some of the passports were forms of clone - and contained data and real passport numbers from real UK citizens. ®

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