Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has lost his appeal against a decision by the Data Protection Commissioner that he breached the Data Protection Act.

The commissioner found Mr Shatter breached the act by disclosing information about independent TD Mick Wallace on RTÉ's Prime Time in 2013.

Mr Shatter had suggested Mr Wallace benefited from gardaí using their discretion when he was found using his mobile phone while driving.

Lawyers for Mr Shatter had suggested that the commissioner's decision was characterised by serious errors.

But Judge Jacqueline Linnane ruled today that the commissioner had considered the matter fully and at length in the course of his investigation.   

She said the commissioner had taken into account the arguments put forward by Mr Shatter. 

Fair procedures had been followed, reasons given for the conclusion and a decision reached, the judge added.

She said it had not been shown that the decision was vitiated or invalidated by any significant error or series of error. 

Lawyers for the commissioner had argued that the only person who could appeal the decision was the current Minister for Justice.

The judge said this objection had been well founded and on this ground alone she would have dismissed the appeal. 

She said Mr Shatter had taken part in the programme in his capacity as minister.  

He had received the information about Mr Wallace as minister and all correspondence during the investigation had been sent to Mr Shatter in his capacity as minister and responded to from his ministerial address.

But she said, in case she was incorrect on that point, she also dismissed the appeal based on the arguments she had heard.

She awarded costs against Mr Shatter but granted a stay on the costs order in the event of an appeal from the former minister.

Wallace welcomes court ruling

Mr Wallace, who was in court this morning, welcomed the ruling and said he was surprised at the "strength" of Judge Linnane's ruling.

"She was very firm in her judgment ... not only was she at pains to stress that Mr Alan Shatter TD isn't the same individual as minister for justice Alan Shatter and he wasn't in a position to take the case, but she went out of her way to stress that the Data Protection Commissioner had done his job really well," he said. 

Mr Wallace said he never felt that Mr Shatter had a good argument in appealing the Data Protection Commissioner's decision.

He said he was very surprised that the minister had made the comments on Prime Time, describing them as "a political stroke ... which seemed a bit out of character".

Mr Wallace said he felt that decision was a good one but that he does expect the former minister to challenge it because "he doesn't like hearing no, so more than likely it will end up in the High Court," he said.

He said that when the appeal was on, he had noticed that Mr Shatter's legal team had been at pains to stress that the former minister had been damaged personally, politically and financially, by the Data Protection Commissioner's decision, and he was eager that it be overturned for fear that Mr Shatter could be pursued for damages.

Mr Wallace said that if the Judge had found against the Data Protection Commissioner this morning, it would have weakened his (Mr Wallace's) position in pursuing the matter any further.

However, he said that the statement from Judge Linnane was very strong and he will be taking legal advice now to see how to progress from here but that he is considering pursuing the former minister for damages.