When you make a request you must:
- Submit the request in writing/email, preferably using the official FOI application form to the contact details at 7. below. Be clear enough so that we understand what records are being requested. In cases where we cannot understand what records are being requested, we will help you to identify the records you want. Please include a daytime telephone number to facilitate ease of access.
- State in your letter that the request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
- Please specify in your application if you require the information sought to be provided to you in a particular format (e.g. photocopy, computer disk, etc.)
- Where possible, indicate the time period, for which you wish to access records e.g. records created between 01 May, 2012 and 31 December, 2012.
- Proof of identity may be sought, especially where personal information is being requested, e.g. Birth Certificate, Driving Licence, Passport or other form of identity.
1. Can I get help in making a request?
Yes, if you require any help the staff in FOI Unit will be happy to assist you with your request. The Unit is also available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act 2014 (e.g. accepting oral requests from requesters' who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling the requester to inspect or have records explained to him/her).
2. How does FOI work?
The FOI Act 2014, requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for access to any record held by an FOI body. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive weekdays excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
3. Can I get access to any information that I seek?
The following records come within the scope of FOI Act 2014:
- all records relating to personal information held by the DCCAE irrespective of when they were created
- all other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act 2014 (21 April 1998)
- any records necessary to the understanding of a current record even if created prior to 21 April 1998
- Personnel records of serving staff created from 21st April, 1995 and those created prior to that date where being used or proposed to be used in a way which adversely affects or may affect the person involved.
However, in order to allow government business to be properly conducted, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in the Act. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
- Government meetings,
- Law enforcement and security,
- Confidential and commercially sensitive information, personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
4. Will I be charged for requesting information under the FOI Act 2014?
There is no up-front fee for making a request under the FOI Act 2014.
It is unlikely that fees will be charged in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.
In the case of non-personal requests, charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by the DCCAE in providing you with the material requested where the total cost exceeds €100. Where this minimum threshold (equivalent to five free hours) is exceeded, a rate of €20 per hour will be charged for the full amount of time spent.
A maximum ceiling of €500 generally applies to such fees but where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, the request may be refused unless the scope of the request is narrowed.
List of Fees
- Search and retrieval: €20.00 per hour
- Copying charges: Photocopy per sheet: €0.04 / CD-ROM: €10.00 / Radiograph: €6.00
- Internal Review fee costs €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
- Appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner costs €50 (€15 for medical car holders)
Method of Payment
All payments to the DCCAE should be made by way of Postal Order, Bank Draft or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) made payable to: Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment.
EFT payment will be accepted in accordance with the following protocol only:
Please note that DCCAE cannot accept any responsibility for payments made into this account that cannot be identified due to lack of information.
5. How soon can a person making a request for records expect a reply?
Under the FOI Act 2014, a request for records must be acknowledged within 2 weeks and, in most cases, responded to within 4 weeks. A week is defined in the Act to mean 5 consecutive weekdays excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. If a third party is involved the time limit for a response to issue may be extended for a further three weeks.
6. What's the next step if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?
If you are dissatisfied with the DCCAE's response you can seek to have a decision re-examined by a more senior member of staff within the Department. Applications for review of a decision, together with a fee of €30.00 or a reduced fee of €10.00 for medical card holders should be addressed to the FOI Unit. See contact details below.
Note: These fees apply only to Non Personal requests.
If you are still unhappy with the decision, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Information Commissioner. Applications with appropriate fees (€50.00 or a reduced fee of €15.00 for medical card holders) should be forwarded directly to the following address:
Post: Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 639 5689
7. Contact details when making a request:
View our contact us page for FOI information