The Freedom of Information Act 2014 establishes three statutory rights:
- a legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies;
- a legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.
The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.
Applications under the FOI Act
Under the FOI Act, anyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available.
Each person has a right to:
- access to records held by the Department ( section 12 )
- correction of personal information relating to oneself held by the Department where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading ( section 9 )
- access to reasons for decisions made by the Department directly affecting oneself ( section 10 )
The following records come within the scope of the Act:
- all records relating to personal information held by the Department irrespective of when created
- all other records created from commencement date i.e. 21st April, 1998
- any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record
- personnel records of serving staff created from 21st April, 1995 and those created prior to that date where being used or proposed to be used in a way which adversely affects or may affect the person involved
How to Apply
Applications under the FOI Act should be made in writing to:
Freedom of Information Unit, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, D02 TD30.
Applications can also be made electronically to email@example.com.
Compiling your Application
When making your request, you should state that you are making your request under the FOI Act. You should be as specific as possible to enable the information to be identified easily and, if feasible, indicate the time-frame which applies to your request, for example, between May 2012 – December 2012. Also, if possible, try to specify the areas of the Department which you feel would be most relevant to your request.
You may be required to prove your identity, especially when seeking personal information, so you may, therefore, be asked to produce your Birth Certificate, Driving Licence, Passport or other form of identity.
Please include a daytime telephone number, if possible, so that you may be contacted quickly if it is necessary to clarify details of your request.
If you need some assistance with compiling your application you may contact the FOI Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Act a request for records must be acknowledged within 2 weeks and, in most cases, responded to within 4 weeks. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive week-days, excluding Saturdays and public holidays (Sundays are also excluded as they are not considered week-days). If a third party is involved there may be another three weeks before a response issues.
There is no fee for a request however fees apply if time spent on search and retrieval of records exceed 5 hours. No fees will be applied without first discussing this with the requester.
Right of Appeal
If you are unhappy with the decision which is made on your request, you can appeal it by making an application for an internal review. A fee of €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependents) applies to requests for an internal review of a decision on a non-personal request. There is no fee for an internal review of a request for personal information or in the case of a late decision on a non-personal request.
Please note that, with effect from 19 September 2014, Government Departments and Public Bodies have stopped sending and receiving cheques/postal orders to or from businesses in Ireland. This is in accordance with the e-Day initiative, which is part of the National Payments Plan. The focus of e-Day is to encourage SMEs to migrate from cheque usage as they are either issuers or receivers of more than 60% of all cheques in Ireland. One of the prime motivations behind e-Day is to help businesses, particularly small businesses, to reduce the costs that are incurred through the use of cheques for making payments.
Accordingly, if you are working for a business/company, you may pay the appeal fee by electronic fund transfer (EFT) to this Department's account in Danske Bank. Details of this Account are as follows:
Name of Bank: Danske Bank
Name of Account: Danske EFT Receipts Public Bank Account
Address: International House, 3 Harbourmaster Place, IFSC, Dublin 1
Account No : IBAN IE24DABA95199030010413
When making payment by EFT please include the name of your business, your name, FOI Reference Number, date of this lodgement and state that the payment is in respect of an FOI Appeal Fee. Please include the date of this lodgement when submitting your FOI appeal.
However, if you are not working for a business/company the fee can be submitted in the form of a Money Order, Postal Order or cheque drawn on a bank in the Republic of Ireland made payable to 'Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment'.