Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes, if you require any help the FOI Officer will be happy to assist you with your request. The Unit is also available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act 2014 (e.g. accepting oral requests from requesters' who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability)
How does FOI work?
The FOI Act 2014, requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for access to any record held by an FOI body. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive weekdays excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
What records fall under the scope of FOI
Official information held by the Academy can be sought under the Act including:
- Records relating to personal information held by the Academy
- Other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act 2014 (21 April 1998)
However, in order to allow FOI bodies to properly conduct their business, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in the Act.
Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
- Government meetings
- law enforcement and security
- confidential and commercially sensitive information
- personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request)
Will I be charged for requesting information under the FOI Act 2014?
- The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides for a completely new FOI fees regime. The Ministerial Order establishing the new fees regime (S.I. 531 of 2014) can be found here. The following is a summary of the new fee structure in respect of non-personal requests:
- The €15 application fee has been abolished;
- There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged. Once the charge reaches €101, full fees apply;
- There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
- There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
- The fee for internal review under Section 21 is now €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependants)
- The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants)
Can I appeal a decision?
Yes. If you are not satisfied with the decision on an FOI request, you may ask the department or body for an “internal review” of the decision. A more senior officer will review your application. You will be told the result of this review within 3 weeks.
If you are not satisfied with the decision on “internal review”, you may ask the Information Commissioner to review the matter.
Is there a charge for appealing a decision of a public body?
A fee of €30 must accompany an application for internal review of a decision of a public body. A reduced fee of €10 applies if you are covered by a medical card. 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. A fee of €50 must accompany most applications for review by the Information Commissioner. A reduced fee of €15 applies if you are covered by a medical card or in relation to a review concerning certain third party information. There is no fee for review applications concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to decisions to impose fees or deposits.