Taking on the Blueshirts

I’ve been in a letter-writing mood of late. This week, I’ve initiated a tête-à-tête with the Minister for Finance Pascal Donohue. Feel free to adapt this material to contact your own TD if you have had the same issue.

Dear Minister Donohoe,

I have just received a letter, dated 29th January, from your office soliciting votes for you and your colleague Deirdre Duffy in the upcoming general election. Irrespective of how I intend voting, I am wondering how your office has my home address on file. I have never shared this information with your organisation. Could you please explain to me where you obtained this personal information?

Best regards,

[Furious D]

His reply:

[D]

I am writing to thank you for contacting me in elation (sic) to an issue of concern to you.

As you are on the register of electors and under data protection rules all candidates, not just myself, can use it to send out election material to the voters in Dublin Central. I hope that clarifies the matter but if you have further questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact my office and I will do whatever I can to assist you.

As a country, we have come a long way over the past few years. While our country continues to face challenges, many opportunities lie ahead. Fine Gael has the people, the ideas and the track record of delivery to meet these challenges head on and make the most of the opportunities that exist. I ask you, therefore, to Vote No. 1 Paschal Donohoe on February 8th and to support my colleague, Deirdre Duffy with your No. 2 vote.

Best Wishes and thanks,

Paschal

 

My response:

Dear Pascal (or Pascal’s proxy, as the case may be),
Thank you for prompt reply. It pleases me that you did so in elation (or perhaps that was a typo. Deary me. I had thought the standards of such a notable public servant would be higher).
Could you please clarify for me what you mean by ‘data protection rules’? Under GDPR, the criteria under which an organisation can process personal information are the following:

    1. Consent.
    2. To carry out a contract.
    3. In order for an organisation to meet a legal obligation.
    4. Where processing the personal data is necessary to protect the vital interests of a person.
    5. Where processing the personal data is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
    6. In the legitimate interests of a company/organisation (except where those interests contradict or harm the interests or rights and freedoms of the individual).

To analyse these points in relation to your organisation using my personal data for electioneering:

      1. I have not given my consent.
      2. There is no contract being carried out.
      3. There is no legal obligation involved here.
      4. This is certainly not in my nor anybody else’s vital interest.
      5. Nor, for that matter, is your using my home address for self-promotion in the public’s interest.
      6. The last point is a little nebulous, as the term legitimate is subjective, so allow me to interpret it from the perspective of how it harms the interests of an individual. I am renting from the private market, paying an extortionate amount to live in the city, to see the money I am paying going into an investment trust to line the pockets of the already privileged. I have to pay a significant portion of my salary for private health insurance, because the public system is a disgrace. These are but two of the issues that directly affect me, and that are part of the ‘track record of delivery’ you alluded to in your reply.

With this in mind, please refrain from wasting any more paper by sending me physical copies of your election material. In the wake of the European elections last year, your party paid some lip service to environmental concerns. Might I suggest you ‘deliver’ on this too.

Yours in earnest,

[Furious D]

I have, as in all such correspondences, used my real name. Edited here for privacy. Everything else exactly as is.

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