It is shocking but not surprising that not a single civil servant has been fired for an incredible bout of behaviour at the so-called Department of Social Protection.
It seems that almost 100 departmental employees accessed the personal files of the public and passed on highly sensitive information to insiders. They snooped on their friends, on colleagues and celebrities.
It is hardly of reassurance to know that this has not been going on for a few weeks but for more than seven years, and involved thousands of records being improperly interfered with. In short, it is a disgraceful breach of trust, which just shows the corrosion at the heart of our civil service, a once-pristine post-colonial inheritance.
And yet, not one member of staff has been sacked for their conduct. Not one. This is despite the offenders breaching both the Data Protection Act and the department's own internal rules. Instead, 87 staff members were 'sanctioned' for improperly accessing sensitive data...
And yet what is most amazing is how little outcry there has been about this, or comment from our otherwise vocal politicians, whose ambition is to actually be responsible for public servants. But then they are so immersed in the culture of the public service, and its indulgences and leniency, that they presumably don't see anything to get too alarmed about.
But you can be damn sure that if it was journalists doing this snooping, or bank officials leaking sensitive personal info, there would be an outcry and robust calls for enquiries and dismissals.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Heads should roll. But, of course, they won't.
Justified outrage from Eamon Delaney in the Sunday Independent: