Irish Groups Protest Plan to Impose Various FOI Fees

14 April 2014

Plans to increase fees for freedom of information requests in Ireland have drawn objections from civic groups.

Arguments against the proposed increased, part of a larger FOI amendment package, were voiced in a letter signed by about 30 groups that are part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) civil society forum. It was sent to Minister Brendan Howlin of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The government is proposing to charge upfront fees for FOI requests and appeals,  internal review and appeals, and so-called multifaceted requests.

“Failure to reconsider FOI fees as part of Ireland’s first OGP National Action Plan will significantly decrease both the credibility of Ireland’s commitment to the OGP and the credibility of its commitment to `greater openness, transparency and accountability’ under its ‘Open Data Initiative,’ “ according to the letter.

Fees reduce the number of requests and are out of line with international practice, the groups argued.

Howlin had indicated a willingness to back down somewhat from an earlier fees proposal. (See previous report.)


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