Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Ceisteanna (140)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

140. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of freedom of information requests made to his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of requests fully denied by reason; the number of requests partially denied; the number of appeals made against denials; the number of such appeals upheld; the number of such appeals rejected; the number of requests that required a fee; the amount received for freedom of information requests in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular format below.

As noted in the table, due to the time-frame for processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act, there will always be a number of live cases on hand at the end of each year which have to be finalised in the following calendar year.

It is not possible to provide statistics on the grounds applying to individual refusals on a retrospective basis as this information was not previously part of the Department's tracking system for FOI requests. However, a new tracking system has been adopted by the Department during 2019 and this information will be available with respect to future requests.

As the Deputy will be aware, a fee is no longer required to process a Freedom of Information request for non-personal records. The fee for an internal review (appeal) of a request under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 in relation to non-personal records is €30 or €10 for a medical card-holder. During the specified period, the Department has received a total of €770 in respect of applications for internal reviews for non-personal requests.

During the specified period, my Department has not received any search and retrieval fees for requests.

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019 (YTD 31/11/2019)

No. FOI requests received

583

769

827

828

Personal

312

402

378

373

Non-personal

269

394

449

454

Mixed

2

0

0

1

Outcome

Granted

159

163

235

197

Part granted

206

250

302

309

Refused

7

274

201

191

Transferred

26

3

4

1

Withdrawn

32

45

48

58

Withdrawn and handled outside of Act

76

45

63

11

Cases on hand at year end

109

125

99

160

Appeals

Internal Appeals

76

125

72

61*

Internal Appeals (Granted/Part granted/Withdrawn and handled outside the Act)

47

45

37

28

Internal Appeals Refused

29

80

35

23

*A number of reviews are still being processed.