|Freedom of Information|
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 1997 which came into operation on 21 April, 1998, establishes three new statutory rights:
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. The Act is designed to allow public access to information held by public bodies which is NOT routinely available through other sources. Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemptions and involves specific procedures and time limits.
| 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; |
a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.
The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 introduced a number of amendments notably in relation to fees. Upfront fees now apply to all non -personal FOI requests under Section 7 of the FOI Act (requests for access to records) and applications under Section 14 (Internal Review) and Section 34 (Review by the Information Commissioner)
The Department has produced two reference books in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Its purpose is to facilitate access to official information held by the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board.
The Guide to Functions and Records of the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board - Section 15 Reference Book, outlines the functions performed by the Department and the Board, the services provided and how they may be availed of, and the records held by both organisations .
The Guide to Rules and Practices of the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board - Section 16 Reference Book, outlines the regulatory and administrative framework in which both the Department and the Board operate
The Department currently makes information routinely available to the public in relation to its functions, activities and schemes. Such information will continue to be available informally without the need to use the FOI Acts. This reference book highlights where information of this nature is available.
The Strategy Statements for the Department and the Defence Forces are probably the most important source document. The Customer Service Action Plan is also an important source documents, as is the White Paper on Defence 2000. These documents are available from a number of sources, including the Department's FOI Officer or Press Office or on this web site.
The Defence Forces website (www.military.ie) also contains a lot of source information on the Defence Forces and their activities.
How to Make a Freedom of Information Request
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 the commencement of the 1997 Act;
- any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record.
We are obliged to respond to a FOI request within 4 weeks.
Applications for information under the FOI Act in relation to the Department of Defence or the Army Pensions Board should be addressed to:
|Freedom of Information Office,|
|Department of Defence,|
|Phone: (045) 492108. |
|Fax: (045) 492017. |
Note: Applications for information under the FOI Act in relation to the Defence Forces will be dealt with by the Defence Forces FOI Officer. Please see Defence Forces Section 15 Reference Book for details – on www.military.ie
Applications should be in writing and should:
1. Refer to the Freedom of Information Act.
2. Give as much information as possible about the records being sought. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information which you require, we will be happy to assist you in preparing your request.
3. Specify if you would like to obtain copies of the record or would prefer access in another form e.g. computer disk.
4. If you are requesting personal information you are requested to please include some form of identification e.g. copy of a driver’s licence, passport, etc.” to ensure that this is only made available to those entitled to it.