Commissioner Calls For Review of FOI

The Information Commissioner has called for a full independent review of Freedom of Information legislation.

Emily O'Reilly has criticised the present legislation, and its exclusion of many government departments from its scope.

Speaking at a conference to mark 10 years of the Freedom of Information Act, Ms O'Reilly noted the exemption of many vital departments.

She asked whether the Department of Justice, much of which is presently exempt from the legislation, is blocking the opening up of policing and immigration matters to the scrutiny of FOI, and if so, why.

Ms O’Reilly, speaking in relation to the refugee bodies, she said there is no justification for their exclusion as their activities have a critical impact on the fundamental rights and life of individuals.

She went on to say there would be huge advantages in opening up a number of bodies including gardaí, the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to its scrutiny.

She also said that if FOI derived from the Constitution, then it is very unlikely that critical areas of Government would remain out of bounds to the public in terms of FOI.


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