The Irish Information Commissioner, Emily O'Reilly, is hosting a conference on Thursday (15 June) to mark the first decade of FOI in Ireland and the 10th anniversary of the Commissioner's office.
The Commissioner has also launched a Special Report 'Freedom of Information - The First Decade', an absolutely fascinating read. The report and the Commissioner's conference speech are available from http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/LatestNews/
I am sure that FOI has played, and continues to play, a vital role in our democracy. Furthermore, I am sure that FOI is here to stay. At the same time there is a real danger of complacency regarding the value of FOI as part of that wider set of arrangements which are meant to promote and preserve an open, liberal and democractic society...
I think it is only fair to declare that, from my perspective, our current amended FOI legislation marks a step backwards from the commitment to transparency and accountability, and the promotion of open government and an open society, which were the hallmarks of the FOI Act 1997. There is no reason to believe that the concerns which first prompted our FOI legislation are any less relevant today than they were ten years ago.