Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (32)

Brian Stanley

Question:

32. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he intends consulting with the Information Commissioner in relation to those State agencies and or bodies which may be excluded from the freedom of information legislation to be introduced later this year; his views on the possible limitations that will come with the inclusion of An Garda Síochána, refugee and asylum agencies as set out in the draft heads of the Bill. [10444/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Decisions on the application of Freedom of Information to public bodies are a matter for Government based on proposals presented to them by me as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government decided last July to endorse the principle contained in the Programme for Government that Freedom of Information should apply to all public bodies subject to some exemptions - in whole or in part - agreed in the public interest. In developing my proposals, I have had regard to the views publicly expressed by the Information Commissioner in relation to the application of FOI to public bodies.

In terms of the inclusion of An Garda Siochána, it remains my intention that Freedom of Information will apply to the administrative records of An Garda Siochána, subject to security exceptions, as set out in the Programme for Government. In the cases of the refugee and asylum agencies, no exemption or exclusion is being proposed, in line with the long-standing position of the Information Commissioner that FOI should apply to these bodies in line with best international practice.