The Assistant Data Protection Commissioner has said lessons have to be learned from a case involving a private investigator who was convicted of illegally accessing personal information and passing it on to credit unions.

Yesterday, Michael Gaynor, trading as MJG Investigations, was fined €5,000 after he was convicted of illegally accessing personal information held by gardaí in breach of data protection legislation.

Gaynor had pleaded guilty to another 69 charges.

He had also admitted getting information on people from the ESB and passing it on to others.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Tony Delaney said the commission was very disappointed about what had been found in relation to the credit unions involved.

Mr Delaney said the commission had an engagement with the Irish League of Credit Unions and he had set down very stringent requirements for the future in relation to how credit unions would deal with private investigators and tracing agents.

He said he would be very surprised if any credit union was hiring any private investigator in the current environment.

In relation to the ESB, Mr Delaney said the information passed on included bank account details.

The ESB would now be subject to a data protection audit by the Data Protection Commissioner.

He said that things would have to change there.

Mr Delaney said gardaí should take stock of what had happened in relation to yesterday's case.

They should think twice if they are tempted to look up something on the PULSE system for their own personal use, or for a friend or former colleague, he added.