Freedom of Information (FOI)
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2014 which came into operation on 14 October, 2014, details the following 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;
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. 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.
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.
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.
Requests for information under the FOI Act in relation to the Department of Defence, Civil Defence or the Army Pensions Board should be addressed to:
Freedom of Information Office,
Department of Defence,
Phone : +353 (45) 49 2407
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 in what format you wish to receive any records released.
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.
Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?
There is no charge for submitting a request. In respect of non-personal requests, other charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by the Department in providing you with the material requested (search, retrieval and copying charges). Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, no fee is charged. Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €500 but less than €700, a maximum charge of €500 applies. Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, the body can refuse to process the request. Details of actual charges relating to your request will be notified to you in writing. A list of relevant fees is set out below:
List of Fees
- There is no charge for submitting a request
- Search and Retrieval – €20 per hour (for requests that exceed the €100 minimum in terms of search, retrieval and copying), subject to the ceilings mentioned above.
- €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
- Internal review fee €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
- Appeal to the Information Commissioner €50 (€15 for medical card holders)
There is no charge if the records concerned contain only personal information relating to the applicant, unless there are a significant number of records.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
You may appeal any decision issued by this Department by writing to the Freedom of Information Office seeking an Internal Review of the matter. A fee of €30 (€10 for medical card holders) may apply for such an appeal. There is no fee for internal review applications concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.
You should make your appeal within 4 weeks from the date of response (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances).The appeal will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of staff of the Department and a decision will be communicated to you within 3 weeks.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
You may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you make an appeal the Information Commissioner will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision.
All appeals should be addressed to:
The Information Commissioner,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
A fee of €50 (€15 for medical card holders) may apply for such an application. Again, there is no fee for appeals to the Office of the Information Commissioner concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.