Dáil Éireann - Volume 398 - 22 May, 1990
Written Answers. - Illegal Listening Devices.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
167. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications if his attention has been drawn to the sale and use of illegal listening devices in this country; if such devices can interrupt ambulance, fire service and Garda Eircell telphone or other radiophone conversations; if he has satisfied himself that such interruptions can pose a security risk; if he will take action in the matter, and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Communications (Mr. Burke) Minister for Communications (Mr. Burke)
Minister for Communications (Mr. Burke): Radio communications systems are not secure systems. By their nature they are susceptible to interference or being overheard by accident or deliberately at any time. Most radio communication system users are — and all should be — aware of this and bear it in mind when using such systems.
Devices designed to receive or overhear signals — which can have legitimate use — are most unlikely to cause interference or interruption to radio communication transmissions.
Under section 11 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1926, it is an offence to improperly divulge the contents of radio transmissions. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for an offence under this section is £1,000 or six months imprisonment or both and on conviction on indictment, a fine, of £20,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.
Listening into or divulging the contents of any telecommunications message transmitted by Telecom Éireann — e.g. on Eircell — without the agreement of the person on whose behalf the message is transmitted is an offence under the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act, 1983. The maximum penalty on summary conviction is a fine of £800 or 12 months imprisonment or both and on conviction on indictment, a fine of  £50,000 or five years imprisonment or both.
Dáil Éireann 398 Written Answers. Illegal Listening Devices.