Helen Dixon to chair expanded Data Protection Commission

Helen Dixon to chair expanded Data Protection Commission

Helen Dixon

Helen Dixon will be appointed as chairperson of an expanded Data Protection Commission (DPC) under new government plans.

Ms Dixon, currently the sole commissioner, will be joined by two additional commissioners following a recruitment process which is expected to take around six months.

No new legislation will be required as section 15 of the Data Protection Act 2018 already provides for the appointment of up to three commissioners.

The decision, announced yesterday by justice minister Helen McEntee, follows an examination instigated in 2021 by then-minister Heather Humphreys to consider whether the DPC’s membership had to increase in response to the increased working burden and investigative complexity it has faced.

Mrs McEntee said: “The Data Protection Commission has performed its role of independent data protection regulation in the State very effectively to date. In recent years, the Commission is dealing with an increased workload with increasingly complex investigative requirements.

“Today’s government decision sends a strong statement of its intention to continue to build the capacity of the Data Protection Commission, support the existing commissioner and ensure that the Commission can continue to deliver on its role.”

She added: “The Data Protection Commission has developed and grown significantly under the leadership of the current commissioner since its establishment.

“In light of her considerable experience and expertise, government has agreed to my proposal to appoint Helen Dixon to the position of chairperson of the Data Protection Commission pursuant to section 16 of the Data Protection Act.

“Consequent to the government decision, I am also asking that the DPC undertake a review of governance structures, staffing arrangements and processes in order to support the work to be performed by the new model of Commission.”

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