Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ireland: additional public bodies are to become subject to the FOIA

Press release from the Information Comissioner Ireland:

"The Information Commissioner, Emily O'Reilly, welcomes last Friday's announcement by the Minister for Finance that 109 additional public bodies are to become subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. With the inclusion of these bodies, the public will have access to the records of almost 500 public bodies. While the majority of these are specialist bodies with which the public does not interact on a routine basis, the list includes a number of regulatory bodies in whose activities the public will have a very keen interest (for example, the Medical Council and An Bord Altranais).

The Information Commissioner draws attention to the fact that, even with these additions, a number of public bodies of significance will remain outside the scope of the FOI Act.

In the area of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform the following bodies are not proposed to be included: An Garda Síochána, Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, Office of the Refugee Tribunal, the Equality Tribunal, the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board.

In the area of the Department of Finance, amongst the excluded bodies are: Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland, Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, National Treasury Management Agency, State Claims Agency.

In the area of the Department of Education & Science: Vocational Educational Committees (33), the State Examinations Commission and the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

Examples of other bodies which continue to fall outside of FOI include: the Adoption Board, Irish Red Cross, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and the Law Society (which might be included to the extent that it performs statutory functions under the Solicitors Acts). In the case of the Garda Ombudsman Commission, which is to be established shortly, one could expect it to be made subject to the FOI Act on the same limited basis as applies to the Office of the Ombudsman."

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