Republic of Ireland news

Independent News & Media will probe if staff emails were searched

Journalist and TV presenter Brendan O'Connor

THE editor-in-chief of Independent News & Media (INM) has said the company will investigate allegations some staff emails were searched.

Stephen Rae told staff that journalists who had been named as having their emails searched, including deputy editor of the Sunday Independent Brendan O'Connor, had been informed.

"Clearly we have to get to the bottom of what is alleged to have occurred and as always identify the actual facts of the case in the first instance and thereafter what lessons can be learned," he said.

Mr Rae was speaking as the Republic's Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan, prepared an affidavit for a High Court case ahead of his request to have inspectors appointed to INM.

The affidavit alleges INM's system was accessed in 2014 to gain information related to 19 people.

The court case is due to be heard on April 16.

Among the people reported to have been affected are Sunday Independent investigative journalist Maeve Sheehan, former Irish Independent journalist Sam Smyth and INM's former director of corporate affairs Karl Brophy.

The names were reported in the Irish Independent.

The Data Protection Commissioner has also said it is examining the issue.

In a statement, the commissioner said: "We intend establishing some baseline facts and what the basic parameters of the issues are and will respond accordingly."

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