I propose to take Questions Nos. 877 and 878 together.
My Department has overall policy responsibility for the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. Under the Act local authorities are responsible for operational activities such as the registration, inspection and regulation of Dog Breeding Establishments, including enforcement activities.
Section 18 of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010, permits a local authority to enter into arrangements with an organisation or persons connected with animal welfare with whom it has an arrangement under Section 15(3) of the Control of Dogs Act 1986. The procurement of any service in that regard, therefore, is a matter solely for each local authority.
Access to information sought under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, is also a matter for the relevant local authority, which is obliged to comply with FOI legislation, and I have no function in the matter.
Last year, following a public consultation process my Department published new Guidelines for Dog Breeding Establishments. These were put in place under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010, and came into effect on 1 January of this year.
Some of the issues raised, including the issue referenced in the Deputy’s question, relate to matters beyond the scope of the guidelines and are being considered as part of a wider review of the legislation, in order to identify any necessary legislative amendments that may be required in the Act to further improve standards. My Department is considering these and other related matters as part of the review of the legislation that is in place.