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Freedom of Information

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 6 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ceisteanna (17, 18, 19)

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

17 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Taoiseach the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department during the first six months of 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29185/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

18 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Taoiseach the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department since January 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30242/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

19 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Taoiseach the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department during the first eight months of 2010; if he will give similar figures for each year going back to 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32302/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (7 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, together.

A total of 56 freedom of information requests were received in my Department in the first six months of the year. This number rose to 74 by the end of August and 81 by the end of September.

The comparative figures for the first eight months of each year since 2002 are:

Year

Total

2002

84

2003

127

2004

27

2005

28

2006

41

2007

54

2008

40

2009

63

All FOI requests received in my Department are processed by statutorily designated officials in accordance with the Freedom of Information Acts. I have no role in processing requests.

How many of the requests were turned down or refused by the Department on the basis of restrictions such as sensitivity? Do the requests recur? Are the same requests made in each quarter? What is the nature of the requests received in general?

In my Department, of a total of 1,537 freedom of information requests received between the enactment of the legislation and the end of September 2010, only 109 were the subject of internal review. One in 15 was considered for review and they have to be in compliance with the Act. I do not have a detailed breakdown as to the subject matter of the requests. They are dealt with by the freedom of information officer in my Department.

I assume he or she gives full and adequate information in whatever is sent out.

I am sure he or she does.

I refer to the Aarhus Convention on access to information relating to environment matters, which was signed by Ireland in 1998 but which has not been ratified yet. My colleagues have asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government what is happening regarding the ratification of this important convention. The programme for Government contains a commitment to ratify it but, to date, no legislation has been brought forward to complete the process that is necessary to ratify it. What is delaying the ratification?

I do not have the supplementary information to hand. If the Deputy directs that question to the line Minister, he will get that information. It is being attended to but it is not yet ready for ratification.

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