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Freedom of Information Act, 1997

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Number 13 of 1997


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 1997


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary and General

Section

1.

Citation and commencement.

2.

Interpretation.

3.

Regulations.

4.

Delegation of certain functions of heads.

5.

Expenses.

PART II

Access to Records

6.

Right of access to records.

7.

Requests for access to records.

8.

Decisions on requests under section 7 and notification of decisions.

9.

Extension of time for consideration of requests under section 7.

10.

Refusal on administrative grounds to grant requests under section 7.

11.

Deferral of access to records.

12.

Manner of access to records.

13.

Access to parts of records.

14.

Review by heads of decisions.

15.

Publication of information about public bodies.

16.

Publication of information regarding rules and practices in relation to certain decisions by public bodies.

17.

Amendment of records relating to personal information.

18.

Right of person to information regarding acts of public bodies affecting the person.

PART III

Exempt Records

19.

Meetings of the Government.

20.

Deliberations of public bodies.

21.

Functions and negotiations of public bodies.

22.

Parliamentary, court and certain other matters.

23.

Law enforcement and public safety.

24.

Security, defence and international relations.

25.

Conclusiveness of certain decisions pursuant to sections 23 and 24.

26.

Information obtained in confidence.

27.

Commercially sensitive information.

28.

Personal information.

29.

Procedure in relation to certain requests under section 7 to which section 26, 27 or 28 applies.

30.

Research and natural resources.

31.

Financial and economic interests of the State and public bodies.

32.

Enactments relating to non-disclosure of records.

PART IV

The Information Commissioner

33.

Establishment of office of Information Commissioner.

34.

Review by Commissioner of decisions.

35.

Requests for further information by Commissioner.

36.

Review of operation of Act and investigations by Commissioner.

37.

Powers of Commissioner.

38.

Commissioner to encourage publication of information by public bodies.

39.

Publication of commentaries by Commissioner on practical application, etc., of Act.

40.

Reports of Commissioner.

PART V

Miscellaneous

41.

Decisions deemed to have been made in certain cases.

42.

Appeal to High Court.

43.

Precautions by High Court and Commissioner against disclosure of certain information.

44.

Stay on certain decisions.

45.

Immunity from legal proceedings.

46.

Restriction of Act.

47.

Fees.

48.

Amendment of Official Secrets Act, 1963.

FIRST SCHEDULE

Public Bodies

SECOND SCHEDULE

The Information Commissioner

THIRD SCHEDULE

Enactments Excluded from Application of Section 32

PART I

Statutes

PART II

Statutory Instruments


Acts Referred to

Agriculture (Research, Training and Advice) Act, 1988

1988, No. 18

An Bord Bia Act, 1996

1996, No. 21

Bord Glas Act, 1990

1990, No. 1

Children Act, 1908

1908, c. 67

Civil Service Commissioners Act, 1956

1956, No. 45

Civil Service Regulation Act, 1956

1956, No. 46

Civil Service Regulation Acts, 1956 and 1958

Combat Poverty Agency Act, 1986

1986, No. 14

Companies Act, 1963

1963, No. 33

Companies Acts, 1963 to 1990

Competition Act, 1991

1991, No. 24

Comptroller and Auditor General Acts, 1923 and 1993

Copyright Act, 1963

1963, No. 10

Data Protection Act, 1988

1988, No. 25

Defence Act, 1954

1954, No. 18

Dentists' Act, 1985

1985, No. 9

Employment Equality Act, 1977

1977, No. 16

Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992

1992, No. 7

European Assembly Act, 1977

1977, No. 30

European Parliament Elections Act, 1993

1993, No. 30

Exchequer and Audit Department Acts, 1866 and 1921

Forestry Act, 1988

1988, No. 26

Gas Act, 1976

1976, No. 30

Harbours Act, 1996

1996, No. 11

Industrial Development Act, 1986

1986, No. 9

Industrial Development Act, 1993

1993, No. 19

Industrial Relations Act, 1946

1946, No. 26

Industrial Relations Act, 1969

1969, No. 14

Industrial Relations Act, 1990

1990, No. 19

Irish Aviation Authority Act, 1993

1993, No. 27

Irish Film Board Act, 1980

1980, No. 36

Irish Horseracing Industry Act, 1994

1994, No. 18

Irish Medicines Board Act, 1995

1995, No. 29

Labour Services Act, 1987

1987, No. 10

Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act, 1926

1926, No. 39

Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1983

1983, No. 28

Local Government Act, 1941

1941, No. 23

Marine Institute Act, 1991

1991, No. 2

Medical Practitioners Act, 1978

1978, No. 4

Milk (Regulation of Supply) Act, 1994

1994, No. 25

Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924

1924, No. 16

National Archives Act, 1986

1986, No. 11

National Social Services Board Act, 1984

1984, No. 2

National Treasury Management Agency Act, 1990

1990, No. 18

Offences Against the State Act, 1939

1939, No. 13

Official Secrets Act, 1963

1963, No. 1

Ombudsman Act, 1980

1980, No. 26

Pensions Act, 1990

1990, No. 25

Performers' Protection Act, 1968

1968, No. 19

Postal and Telecommunications Services Act, 1983

1983, No. 26

Public Offices Fees Act, 1879

1879, c. 58

Prisons Acts, 1826 to 1980

Radiological Protection Act, 1991

1991, No. 9

Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Act, 1987

1987, No. 31

Roads Act, 1993

1993, No. 14

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989

1989, No. 7

Social Welfare Acts

Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993

1993, No. 27

Tax Acts

Trade and Marketing Promotion Act, 1991

1991, No. 22

Transport (Re-organisation of Córas Iompair Éireann) Act, 1986

1986, No. 31

Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921

1921, c. 7

Údarás na Gaeltachta Act, 1979

1979, No. 5

Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1996

1996, No. 4

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Number 13 of 1997


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 1997


AN ACT TO ENABLE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO OBTAIN ACCESS, TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, TO INFORMATION IN THE POSSESSION OF PUBLIC BODIES AND TO ENABLE PERSONS TO HAVE PERSONAL INFORMATION RELATING TO THEM IN THE POSSESSION OF SUCH BODIES CORRECTED AND, ACCORDINGLY, TO PROVIDE FOR A RIGHT OF ACCESS TO RECORDS HELD BY SUCH BODIES, FOR NECESSARY EXCEPTIONS TO THAT RIGHT AND FOR ASSISTANCE TO PERSONS TO ENABLE THEM TO EXERCISE IT, TO PROVIDE FOR THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW BOTH OF DECISIONS OF SUCH BODIES RELATING TO THAT RIGHT AND OF THE OPERATION OF THIS ACT GENERALLY (INCLUDING THE PROCEEDINGS OF SUCH BODIES PURSUANT TO THIS ACT) AND, FOR THOSE PURPOSES, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE OF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER AND TO DEFINE ITS FUNCTIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PUBLICATION BY SUCH BODIES OF CERTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THEM RELEVANT TO THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT, TO AMEND THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT, 1963 , AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. [21st April, 1997]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS: