How do I make an FOI Request?
When you make a request you must:
- Submit the request in writing/email, preferably using the official FOI Application Form to: FOI Officer, The Teaching Council, Block A Maynooth Busines Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, or email: email@example.com
- 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 that the request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
- Where possible, indicate the time period, for which you wish to access records e.g. records created between 01 May, 2014 and 31 December, 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.).
- 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.
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes, if you require any help the FOI Officer will be happy to assist you with your request. We are 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).
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.
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.
Will I be charged for requesting information under the FOI Act 2014?
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides for a completely new FOI fees regime. The Ministerial Order establishing the new fees regime (S.I. 531 of 2014) can be found here. The following is a summary of the new fee structure in respect of non-personal requests:
- The €15 application fee has been abolished.
- There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged. Once the charge reaches €101, full fees apply;
- There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
- There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
- The fee for internal review under Section 21 is now €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependents);
- The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependents).
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.
What is the next step if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?
If you are dissatisfied with the Teaching Council’s response you can seek to have a decision re-examined by a more senior member of staff within the Council. 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 Section, The Teaching Council, Block A, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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