Appeals Rise in Ireland, Irish Commissioner O’Reilly Says

17 May 2013

Appeals to the Irish information commissioner  are up, some government departments are refusing to provide information to her, and budget pressures are being used to justify delays in responding to requests, according to Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly.

The information appeared in her annual report for 2012 and in an article in The Irish Times by Steven Carroll..

The report says there was a 38% increase in the number of FOI review applications received by in 2012, attributable to more individuals seeking personal information in order to secure state benefits.

Progress has been made on developing a bill to modify the law, still not ready, particularly to apply the law to new public bodies. In The Irish Times, however, she is quoted as saying that the “devil would be in the detail” of the legislation.

The commissioner’s report also “expresses disappointment at the decision of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to stop collating the statistical FOI returns due to an administratively unsustainable workload. The Commissioner was consequently unable to publish information and provide commentary in her Annual Report on the FOI requests made to public bodies in 2012,” according to a press release about the report.

Also addressed in the report are instances of inadequate staffing.  “It is of significant concern to me if extensions become the norm, or default position, of public bodies in considering requests from my office,” the report says.

 

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