Helen Dixon reappointed as Data Protection Commissioner

Helen Dixon
Helen Dixon

The Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, has been reappointed by the Government for a second five-year term.

Ms Dixon was initially appointed to the role in September 2014 and has overseen the significant expansion of the remit of the Data Protection Commission (DPC), particularly following the enactment of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Complaints to the DPC have increased from 910 in 2013 to 4,113 in 2018. From GDPR enactment in May 2018 until the end of that year alone, the DPC received 31,000 contacts.

The DPC’s budget has likewise increased from €4.7 million in 2017 to €15.3 million this year, with staff numbers growing from 52 at the end of 2017 to 131 now and plans to reach 160 by the end of the year.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “I am pleased to announce the Government’s approval for the reappointment of Helen Dixon as Data Protection Commissioner. Helen is internationally well regarded for her expertise in this area.

“This is a very important role as Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the EU’s lead regulator for the many multinational companies based in this jurisdiction. I know that Helen is deeply committed to her role as Commissioner. She has launched a number of significant investigations into multinational companies’ alleged non-compliance with GDPR and it is crucial that she be allowed to see them through to completion.

“I look forward to engaging with her over the course of her second term.”

Ms Dixon added: “I welcome the Government’s early decision and announcement in relation to my reappointment as Commissioner for a second term.

“At this early but critical juncture of GDPR implementation and enforcement, continuity is important to drive clarity for organisations around the standards they must meet in order to effectively safeguard the data protection rights of service users, consumers and citizens.

“It is a privilege to serve in this role and to work with the dedicated staff of the Data Protection Commission. Our fellow EU data protection authorities count on us to effectively supervise the large internet platforms headquartered in Ireland and we are committed to this task.”

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