Freedom of Information (FOI) and FOI Publication Scheme

FOI Publication Scheme 

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The FOI Act 2014 (which repeals the two previous FOI Acts of 1997 and 2003), provides that every person has the following legal rights:

  • the right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies listed in, or prescribed under, the Act;
  • the right to have personal information held concerning him or her corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
  • the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies which affect him or her.

These rights allow people to seek access to personal information held concerning themselves, no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after 21 April, 1998.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform official FOI Website provides FOI informational material, and is updated regularly.

Question 1: What information is available to the Public?

Any official information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act. However, to allow for the proper conduct of Government business, including taking account of the interests of third parties dealing with Government, the Act provides that in some circumstances certain types of information are exempt from release, including records of:

  • Government meetings
  • Law enforcement and security
  • Confidential and commercially sensitive information
  • Matters included in certain enactments for which non-disclosure of records is permitted.

Question 2: How do I make a Request under FOI?

Please submit requests in writing to:

  • FOI Unit, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland. D02TR60

Question 3: Who should I contact if I have a query?

You can contact the FOI Officer, Larry Corr, by telephone at (01) 6041261.

Question 4: Is there a charge for making a request?

Fees apply in respect of the time required to search for, retrieve and copy records for release. Fees are unlikely to arise if your request is for personal information. A once-off fee applies if a requester seeks a review of a Decision both by the Department and by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

You can make a payments to the Department by the following methods:

  • for business users, by electronic means
  • for other users, by electronic means, bank draft, money postal order or personal cheque. Please make all payments payable to "The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport"

The following summarises the main fees applicable:

A. Non-personal Information

No

Item

Fee

Hours1

Detail for Charging

1

Search & Retrieval

Varies

See 3

Rate is €20 per hour

2

Copying

 

 

 

 

(a) Paper

Varies

See 3

Rate is €0.04 per copy

 

(b) Electronic

Varies

See 3

Rate is €10.00 for a CD-ROM.

3

Search & Retrieval and Copying fees [2+3]2

 

 

 

 

(a)  ≤ €100

Nil

≤ 5

No charge for costs of up to €100.

 

(b)  ˃ €100 ≤ €500

Varies

˃ 5 ≤ 25

Charge of actual amount, between €100 and €500

 

(c)  ˃ €500 ≤ €700

€500

˃ 25 ≤ 35

Charge of €500, even if amount is between €500 and €700

 

(d)  ˃ €700

Varies

˃ 35

Full cost charged if request is not refined to below €700. Or: request may be refused

4

Internal Review

€30

-

Fee is €10 for medical card holders & dependants; payable to Department of Transport Tourism and Sport

5

Appeal to Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC)

€50

-

Fee is €15 for medical card holders and dependants; payable to OIC

 

(1)    We initially estimate the hours required to carry out Search & Retrieval and Copying. However, when charging, we only include the actual hours required to manage records for release. The hours indicated in this column are for guidance as copying costs will also affect our estimate.

(2)    Search, Retrieval & Copying. We combine the total costs for SR&C to estimate the total charge for each request and the ability to complete it. The actual charge will only be in respect of records finally released.

B. Personal Information

Normally, fees would not be charged for search, retrieval and copying of records where the record or records concerned contains or contain only personal information relating to the applicant. For a significant number of records a charge may apply, with consideration of the means of the requester.

Question 5: What can I do if I am not happy with a decision?

If you are not satisfied with the response received, or feel that a proposed charge for search/retrieval or copying of records is excessive, you can seek a review by the Department. An officer more senior than the Decision Maker will carry out the review. Contact details are the same as for making an initial request.

If you are not satisfied with the result of an internal review, you may seek a further review by the Information Commissioner. Their contact details are: 

The Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. Phone: (01) 6395689 or 1890 223030, and email: info@oic.ie

Question 6: Do I need to make a FOI request to get any information from the Department?

No. It is a policy of this Department to make as much information as possible available outside of the Freedom of Information process. Our FOI Publication Scheme makes information available under a number of different topics. We also routinely make information available through information leaflets, publications, and in response to enquiries. FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not made routinely available.  

Question 7: Which bodies are covered by the FOI Act?

The FOI Act applies to all government departments, local authorities and health boards. The Act also applies to a large number of additional public bodies. A full list of the bodies covered by FOI is available on the FOI website www.foi.gov.ie

Question 8: Which bodies under aegis of the Department are covered by the FOI Act?

Tourism Ireland is exempt under the Act. However, it nonetheless operates FOI, mainly through a Code of Practice approved by the North South Ministerial Council.

Commercial Agencies under the aegis of the Department are exempt under the Act. The exeptions are Irish Rail and the Railway Procurement Agency (as inlcuded above).