Legislation for requesting information
The Freedom of Information Act 1997 as amended by the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 continues to apply to any FOI request made before the new Act came into effect. It also applies to any subsequent review or appeal.
On 14 October 2014, the Freedom of Information Act 2014 ("the Act") came into effect. The new Act introduced a number of changes to the Freedom of Information (FOI) scheme. The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides that every person has the following legal rights:
- the right to access official records held by public bodies prescribed under the Act (FOI bodies);
- 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 FOI bodies that affect them.
Any person may make an FOI Request under the Act, and the public body in question must normally respond within 2 weeks (10 working days) with an acknowledgment of the request, and within the 4 weeks (20 working days) following receipt of the request. In the case of large and/or complex requests this timeframe may be extended by a further 4 weeks.
In the case of requests for Personal Information, the processing of the FOI request will not commence until the required I.D or other verification documents have been received from the Requester.
Under the FOI Act 2014 the Decision Maker may grant full access, may refuse access or provide partial access to the information requested based on specific exemption detailed within the FOI Act 2014.
Under the Act, the person who has requested the information has the right to appeal an FOI body's decision – initially to an Internal Reviewer who will be a more senior staff member within the FOI body than the FOI Officer/Decision Maker who made the original decision, and then if the requester is still not satisfied they can make an appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner's decision in this instance is binding.
Personal Information – There is no charge for requests for Personal Information/Records, unless there are a significant volume of records.
Non-Personal Information - Section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides for fees and charges for Non Personal Information.
|Type of Request or Application||Standard Fee *
||Reduced Fee **
|Initial request for a record||Free||Free|
|Review by Information Commissioner||€50||€15|
|Application for amendment containing incorrect information||Free||Free|
|Application for reasons for a decision affecting
* There are no fees where you appeal a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a specific amount.
** Reduced fees will apply in respect of medical card holders and third parties who appeal a decision to release their information on public interest grounds.
No fees apply where the request or internal review involves access to your personal records.
Charges for search, retrieval and copying of records
Charges may be applied by the body for the time spent searching for and retrieving records, and for any copying costs incurred in providing requesters with the copies of the records requested. It is unlikely that any charges will be applied in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.
If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, under the Act no fee is applicable. If the charge exceeds €100, full fees will be requested. The maximum charge for any one request most not exceed €500, however if the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700 the request can be refused, unless it is refined to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below this limit.
|Type of Charge||Standard Charge|
|Search & Retrieval of records
||€20 per hour
|Photocopying||4 cent per sheet
|CD ROM containing copies of documents
|Radiograph (x-ray) containing copy of documents
A link to the legislation is provided here for information: Freedom of Information Act, 2014
Further information on FOI is also available from:
Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit
Office of the Information Commissioner