We have created two useful resources for survivors of Irish Industrial or Reformatory Schools:
1. A Guide to help you apply for your personal data using GDPR (as well as Freedom of Information where necessary)
Click here to download the Access to Records Guide in Word format.
Click here to download the Access to Records Guide in PDF format.
2. A Guide to help you make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission (if you are not happy with the result of your application using Guide 1)
Click here to download the Complaints Guide in Word format.
Click here to download the Complaints Guide in PDF format.
Explanation of the Guides
Access to Records Guide
The purpose of the Guide is to help people who were detained in Irish Industrial Schools or Reformatory Schools to apply to the relevant agencies (‘data controllers’) for their records.
These records are your personal data because they are information identifying you or relating to you. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you have a right of access to your personal data which can be exercised through making a personal access request.
This Guide contains information to help you make a personal access request for your records. The Guide also contains information to help relatives apply for the records of deceased family members.
The Guide contains information about the request process, as well as sample letters of requests that you can use. It contains addresses, telephone numbers, emails and website information for the following data controller organisations:
- Department of Education
- Department of Health
- The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC)
- Residential Institutions Redress Board
- Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse
- National Archives of Ireland
- Some Religious Orders
You might also need to do some additional research to find the relevant postal or email address for a data controller specific to your situation.
The Guide also contains the names of the different industrial and reformatory schools, and their addresses, to help you to identify which school you were in (as this will be needed in your letter of request).
By following the process in our Access to Records Guide, we hope that you will receive the information you were seeking. However, if you are unhappy with the result of your request, you can use our Complaints Guide to make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission using the online request form on the Data Protection Commission’s website.
You can complain if you haven’t received a response to your complaint, if your information has been redacted or if the data controller has failed to provide you with your personal data.
The guide also contains some arguments you can use in making your complaint.
These guides are published under a Creative Commons licence. You are free to copy and redistribute the material as long as you give appropriate credit, you do not use the material for commercial purposes, and you do not change the material.