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FOI General Information


Introduction
General Information on FOI
Can I get access to any information that I seek?  
Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?  
How do I make an FOI request?
Assistance in making requests
What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?      
Do I need to make an FOI request to get information from DECLG?
Met Éireann
Performance Verification Group under the aegis of DECLG which is subject to the FOI Act
Bodies under the aegis of DECLG which are subject to the FOI Act   

Introduction

Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts 1997 - 2003, give 3 legal rights to those seeking access to information held by public bodies covered by the Act

  • the right of access to official records created after 21 April 1998 which are held by Government Departments or other public bodies subject to the Act;
  •  the right to have personal details on official records 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 the requester.

 

General Information on FOI

FOI gives legal rights to obtain access to records held by public bodies.  There is generally no time limit in the case of personal information about the requester.  In other cases the right of access is to records created after the commencement of the Act on 21 April 1998 (although access may be given to records created before this date where they are required to understand records created after this date). Requests for information under Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 - 2003 must be made in writing.          

As required by the Act, DECLG has produced a reference book to assist the public in using FOI procedures. The FOI Section 15& 16 Reference Book is a guide to the functions and records of the Department and details the rules and practices of the Department in relation to any decisions made under schemes affecting the public. 
 
The Section 15 and 16 reference book is available in the Publications and Documents box on the right. An Irish version is also available.
 

Can I get access to any information that I seek?

The following records come within the scope of the FOI Act:

  •  all records relating to requesters' personal information irrespective of when they were created
  •  all other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act (21 April, 1998) 
  •  any records necessary to the understanding of a current record even if created prior to 21 April 1998                            

Any records held by the Department falling into these categories may be sought under the Act.  However, in order to allow public bodies to conduct their business properly and to protect the rights of third parties, certain records are exempt from release under the Act.  Whether an exemption will be applied depends, in many cases, on whether the public interest is better served by releasing or withholding the information. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:

  • Government meetings
  •  the deliberative processes of the public body
  •  parliamentary and court matters
  •  law enforcement and public safety· security, defence and international relations 
  • confidential and commercially sensitive information
  •  personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request)

PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS DEPARTMENTAL POLICY TO PUBLISH F.O.I REQUESTS ON THIS WEBSITE.

 
Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?

There is no application fee for requests for personal information relating to the requester.  In the case of requests for non-personal information there is an application fee of 15 euro, or 10 euro in the case of a medical card holder (or dependant of a medical card holder).  There may also be further charges for the time spent retrieving records (20.95 euro per hour) and for any photocopying costs (4 cent per sheet).  Such charges are very unlikely to be applied in the case of personal information relating to the requester.                       

 There is no charge for applications to have incomplete, incorrect or misleading personal information corrected or for applications to obtain the reasons for acts of the public body affecting the individual making the request.

 
How do I make an FOI request?  

A request for information under the Freedom of Information Act must be made in writing and should indicate that the information is being sought under the Freedom of Information Act.  The request should also be sufficiently clear for us to identify the records sought.   If we are not clear as to the records being sought we will contact you to seek clarification.           

If you wish to gain access to the records in a particular form (e.g. inspect the records, photocopies, computer disk, etc.) you should specify this in the application.           

Requests may be made by post by writing to

Information Officer
FOI Unit,
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, 
Newtown Road,
Wexford


Requests for information (other than personal information about the requester) should be accompanied by the appropriate fee i.e. 15 euro or 10 euro in the case of a person covered by a medical card. In the case of requesters covered by medical cards, details of the medical card registration number and issuing health board, together with consent to the verification of these details with the relevant health board should be included.            

Processing of an FOI request will not commence until the appropriate fee has been received.  There may be further charges for search and retrieval (20.95 euro per hour) and photocopying (0.04 euro per sheet) applicable to your request.  Further charges would be very unlikely to be applied to requests for personal information.                      

 Requests may also be made by e-mail to foi@environ.ie . If you have made a request by e-mail and an application fee is payable in your case (i.e. your request is for non-personal information) please enclose a copy of your e-mail when forwarding your fee.                      

Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within 4 weeks of its receipt.


Assistance in making requests

Information on type of records held by the Department is given in our FOI Section 15 Reference Book. If you have difficulty in identifying the records required, the staff of the FOI Unit will be happy to assist you.  The FOI Unit can be contacted by telephone at +353 (0)53 911 7495 - Shelly Whelan or +353 (0)53 911 7461  - Tony Collins or e-mailed at  (foi@environ.ie).

 
What can I do if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?    

If you are dissatisfied with the Department's decision on an FOI request you can seek an internal review of the decision.  An internal review is a complete reconsideration of your request by a more senior member of staff in the Department.  Applications for internal review should be made in writing to the FOI Unit.            

There is an application fee of 75 euro, (25 euro for requesters covered by medical cards), for applications for internal review of FOI requests. There is no charge for an application for internal review of a decision relating to the requester's personal information or for an application for internal review of a decision to charge fees.             

If you are unhappy with the decision made by the internal reviewer, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner, whose contact details are as follows:   

Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2   Phone: +353 (0)1 639 5689 or 1890 223030, Fax +353 (0)1 639 5676 e-mail: info@oic.ie There is an application fee of 150 euro (50 euro for requests covered by medical cards) for application for review to the Information Commissioner. There is no charge for an application for review to the Information Commissioner of an internal review decision relating to the requester's personal information or a decision to charge fees.


Do I need to make an FOI request to get information from DECLG?         

No. It is not necessary to make an FOI request to get information from the Department. A considerable amount of material is already made available to the public through information leaflets - see the Publications section of this website. Contact points for information on services provided by the Department are set out in our FOI Section 16 Reference Book.

FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not made  routinely available.


Met Éireann

Met Éireann is part of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and is subject to the Freedom of Information Acts 1997-2003.

Contact details  are:

Met Éireann, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 806 4246
FOI Contact Person: Joe Bourke e-mail:  joe.bourke@met.ie



Bodies under the aegis of the DECLG which are subject to FOI Act 

 

A number of bodies under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government are subject to the Freedom of information Acts 1997 – 2003.  Contact details for these bodies are:  

 

An Bord Pleanála
64 Marlborough St, Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 (0)1 858 8100
FOI contact person: Bríd Hill
e-mail: b.hill@pleanala.ie

 


Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB)
Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 (0)1 888 2551
FOI contact person: Adam Egan 
e-mail: adam.egan@environ.ie

 

 

Dublin Docklands Development Authority
52-55 Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Docklands, Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 (0)1 818 3300
FOI contact person: Loretta Lambkin
e-mail:  llambkin@dublindocklands.ie

 

Environmental Protection Agency
PO Box 3000, Johnston Castle Estate, Co. Wexford
Telephone:+353 (0)53 916 0600
FOI contact person: Majella Byrne
e-mail: m.byrne@epa.ie

 

Housing Finance Agency
Eden House15-17, Eden Quay, Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 (0)1 872 5722
FOI contact person: Tom Conroy 
e-mail:  tconroy@hfa.ie


Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency*
2nd Floor Cumberland House, Fenin St, Dublin 2.
Telephone: +353 (0)1 656 4115
FOI contact person: Ciara Galvin
e-mail: ciara.galvin@housing.ie

(* The Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency HSCA) will replace the Affordable Homes Partnership, the Centre for Housing Research and the National Building Agency)


Irish Water Safety
The Long Walk, Galway
Telephone: +353 (0)91 564 400
FOI contact person: John Leech
e-mail: iohnleech@iws.ie

 

  

Local Government Management Agency*
Local Government House, 35-39 Ushers Quay, Dublin 8.
Telephone: +353 (0)1 643 8400
FOI contact person: Sonia Merrifield
e-mail: smerrifield@lgmsb.ie

(* The Local Government Management Services Board (LGMSB) and the Local Government Computer Services Board (LGCSB) are being merged into the Local Government Management Agency)

 

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee
Department of theEnvironment, Community & Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 (0)1 888 2188
FOI Contact: Deirdre Kearney
e-mail: Deirdre.kearney@environ.ie

 

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII)
3 Clonskeagh Square, Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14
Telephone: +353 (0)1 269 7766
FOI contact person: Barbara Rafferty
e-mail: brafferty@rpii.ie

  

Western Development Commission (WDC)
Dillon House, Ballghaereen, Co. Roscommon
Telephone: +353(0)94 986 1441
FOI contact person: Paul Keyes
e-mail: paulkeyes@wdc.ie

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