Freedom of Information (FOI)
The FOI Act provides that every person has the following new legal rights:
- the right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies listed in the Act;
- the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.
Therefore people can seek access to personal information held on them - no matter when the information was created - and to other records created after 21 April, 1998.
For further information visit the official Freedom of Information website at foi.gov.ie
What information is available?
Any official information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act. However, the Act provides that in some circumstances certain types of information are exempt from release. Examples include records relating to Government meetings, law enforcement and security, confidential and commercially sensitive information.
How to make a FOI request?
Requests should be submitted in writing along with an application fee, if applicable, (see below) to:
Kildare Education Centre
What fees apply to making a request?
There is no application fee if your request is for personal information only (unless there is a significant number of records involved). If your request is for a record containing non-personal information charges of €20 per hour are applied for search and retrieval of records. A charge of 4c per sheet applies to photocopying and €10 for a CD-ROM containing a copy of the documents.
There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged. Once the charge reaches €101, full fees apply;
There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
How do I appeal a decision made?
If you are not satisfied with the response you have received or if you feel that a proposed charge for search/retrieval or copying of records is excessive you can appeal for an internal review of the decision. Someone more senior than the original decision-maker will undertake the internal review. The reviewer can change or agree with the original decision. There is a fee of €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependants) for applications for internal reviews of FOI requests.
If you are unhappy with the decision of the internal reviewer, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 6395689 or 1890 223030
There is an application fee of €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants) for application for review to the Information Commissioner. There is no charge for an application for review to the Information Commissioner of a decision relating to the requester's personal information or a decision to charge fees.