Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is FOI?
A: The FOI Act provides that from 21 April, 1998, 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.
These rights mean that from 21 April, 1998, 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.
Q: What records can be requested?
A: Under the Act, the following records are accessible:
- all records created after the Act commenced 21st April, 1998;
- all personal records of clients, whenever created;
- all records of staff created after 21 April, 1995, or earlier if used adversely against staff member; and
all records created earlier if needed to understand records created after that date.
Q: How do I make an FOI Request to the Department?
A: You can send a request in writing to FOI Unit, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Elm House, Earlsvale Road, Cavan, Fax: +353 (01) 678 2449. Your request should include the following:
- a statement that the request is being made under the FOI Act;
- as much information as possible about the records being sought; and
- a specification relating to the form of the copies being requested.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: From 7 July 2003, the standard fee payable for each request is €15. A reduced fee of €10 may apply if the requester is covered by a medical card.
The following requests are exempt from the fee
- All requests under section 7 for record containing only personal information related to the requester
- an application under section 17 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information)
an application under section 18 (right of a person to iformation regarding acts of public bodies affecting the person
Q: Who should I contact?
A: Mary Rabbitte, Freedom of Information Officer or Carmel Conaty, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Elm House, Earlsvale Rd., Cavan. Tel: +353-(0)1- 678 2903/2902, Fax: +353-(0)1- 6782449, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
A: You may request an internal review of the decision within four weeks. At this stage a more senior officer will review your application. All requests for internal review should be addressed to FOI Unit, Corporate Services Division, Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Elm House, Earlsvale Rd., Cavan. Tel: +353-(0)1-6782900. The fee of €75 must accompany an application for an internal review. A reduced fee of €25.00 applies if you are covered by a medical card.
Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
A: You may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Information Commissioner. If an appeal is made by you, the Information Commissioner will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to The Information Commissioner, The Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. The fee of €150 must accompany an application to the Information Commissioner. A reduced fee of €50.00 applies if you are covered by a medical card.