A SINN FEIN councillor has asked a senior council official whether he can find out the identity of the person who leaked an internal email to a newspaper.
Sheamus Greene raised the matter of leaked emails last week during a committee meeting discussion on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s redrafted ICT policy for staff and councillors.
Cllr Greene hit the headlines last month after his response to an email regarding nominations for Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday honours list for 2018 was leaked to the media.
It was reported that the Brookeborough councillor replied to an internal email from a council official stating, “Sorry I would have no interest in this. To be honest, I would rather have my fingernails pulled with pliers. But everyone to their own.”
The comment was condemned by Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton, who drew upon the use of torture by paramilitaries during the Troubles.
The issue of leaked emails was raised again by Cllr Greene during last Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee in Omagh where he posed a series of questions to the council’s director of corporate services and governance Celine McCartan.
“Recently I had the privilege of a certain person leaking my internal email,” he said.
“Have I any redress on that as far as this policy is concerned, or can the council follow it up? If I decide in the morning to leak whatever email I want, is there any consequence for me?”
The senior council official responded, “It is something which the council can pursue, consider and in fact, is obligated to do so under our data protection requirements.
“Without going into any specifics on this, the policy is there and we would encourage the use of email to be appropriate in all cases.”
The Sinn Fein man further queried, “If I want to find out who the nice fella was that leaked it, can I through freedom of information find out that?”
Ms McCartan said pointed to the rules around freedom of information and data protection.
“We will be limited by those rules, but they will be applied consistently and fairly.”
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