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Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014

The FOI Act 2014 provides that from the effective date, every person has the following legal rights:

  • the right to access official records held by Government Departments and all public bodies that conform to the provisions of Section 6 of the Act;
  • the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
  • the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.

Regulations provide that parents, guardians and next-of-kin may apply to exercise these rights in certain circumstances

The FOI Act gives legal rights to obtain access to records held by public bodies. There is generally no time limit in the case of personal information about the requester. In other cases the right of access is to records created after the commencement of the initial FOI Act in April 1998.

The Act requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. 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 week-days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. There are some limited situations under the FOI Act, which could mean that the making of a decision could take longer than four weeks. If this occurs, you will be notified in writing. For instance, if consultations with third parties are necessary in order to complete the request, there may be a further three weeks before a response is issued. If you have not received a reply within four weeks, you are automatically entitled to consider that Teagasc has refused to grant your request and you may immediately appeal to Teagasc for a review on the matter.