EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has opened an inquiry into how the European Commission has been monitoring the application of data protection regulations in Ireland.

It follows a complaint to her office from Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ms O'Reilly confirmed that she was opening an inquiry into the matter.

"The complainant expresses the concern that the Commission has not gathered sufficient information to monitor the application of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Ireland," the letter states.

"Public bodies, along with civil society organisations, report that the application of the GDPR in Ireland is inadequate, whereas the commission’s recent reply to the complainant in this case appears to suggest that there is no evidence of this," she replied.

Ms O'Reilly said that questions were bound to arise in the minds of citizens if different factual accounts were circulating regarding the implementation of GDPR.

The European Commission has been asked to provide a "detailed and comprehensive account" of the information that it has so far collected to inform itself as to whether GDPR is being applied in all respects in Ireland.

The EU Ombudsman has asked for a reply by 15 May.

The General Data Protection Regulation is an EU regulation that came into effect in May 2018 which imposes strict requirements on the collection, use and storage of personal data.