FOI, AIE, Protected Disclosures

FOI, AIE, Protected Disclosures

Freedom of Information

Welcome to the Freedom of Information Unit of Léargas, the Exchange Bureau. With effect from 31 May 2006, Léargas is an agency covered under the Freedom of Information Act.

This page provides information on:

  • how to make an FOI Application
  • Léargas reporting under the Access to Information on the Environment legislation.

For information on Léargas published under Section 8 of the FOI Act 2014, click here.

Applications under the FOI Act

The FOI Act 2014 provides that 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.

These rights mean that from a certain date (31 May 2006 in respect of Léargas), people can seek access to personal information held on them no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after 31 May 2006.

Which records?

The following records come within the scope of the FOI Acts:

  • all records relating to personal information held by Léargas irrespective of when they were created
  • all other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act for Léargas (31 May 2006)
  • any records necessary to the understanding of a current record even if created prior to 31 May 2006
  • personnel records of serving staff created from 31 May 2006 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).

Requests may also be refused if they are deemed too voluminous or unclear but Léargas is obliged to assist the requester in trying to overcome this.

Is there a charge?

There is no charge for submitting a request.

In respect of non-personal requests, other charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by Léargas in providing you with the material requested (search, retrieval and copying charges). Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, no fee is charged.  Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €500 but less than €700, a maximum charge of €500 applies.  Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, Léargas can refuse to process the request.

Details of actual charges relating to your request will be notified to you in writing. Payment should be made by way of Electronic Funds Transfer. Please contact the FOI Unit for bank details.  A list of relevant fees is set out below:

List of Fees

  • There is no charge for submitting a request
  • Search and Retrieval – €20 per hour (for requests that exceed the €100 minimum in terms of search, retrieval and copying), subject to the ceilings mentioned above.
  • €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
  • Internal review fee €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
  • Appeal to the Information Commissioner €50 (€15 for medical card holders)

How to make a request:

Your request should include the following:

  • A statement that the request is being made under the FOI Act;
  • As much information as possible about the records being sought;
  • In what format you wish to receive any records released (e.g. photocopies)

If you wish to send a request you can do so either in writing or by email, to

Fionnuala Broughan,
FOI Officer,
Léargas,
King’s Inns House
Parnell Street
Dublin 1
D01 A3Y8

Tel. (01) 873 1220

email: foi_at_leargas.ie (please replace _at_ with the @ symbol)

Alternatively, you may download the application form, fill it in, and send it to us at the address above.

We are normally obliged to provide a decision on a request within four weeks of receiving it.

Access to Information on the Environment

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government requests annual statistical information in relation to AIE (Access to Information on the Environment) requests received by the Department of Education and Skills and bodies under its aegis (of which Léargas is one). Léargas provides statistics on any requests it receives to the DES.

Click here for summaries of AIE requests, as gathered by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

The AIE contact person in Léargas is Fionnuala Broughan whom you can contact at aie@leargas.ie.

Protected Disclosures

Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 requires the publication of a report each year relating to the number of protected disclosures made in the preceding year and any actions taken in response to such disclosures.

No protected disclosures were received by Léargas in the reporting period up to 31 December 2016.
Léargas report for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Protected Disclosures contact person in Léargas is Lorraine McDyer whom you can contact at pd@leargas.ie