South Dublin County Council

Saoráil Faisnéise

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 was signed into law on Tuesday, 14th of October 2014 by the President of Ireland, Mr. Michael D. Higgins and all FOI requests must now be made under this Act. The Freedom of Information Act 1997 and Freedom of Information(Amendment) Act 2003 have been  repealed.

What is Freedom of Information?
The Initial Freedom of Information Act came into effect on 21 April, 1998 for Government Departments and certain Public bodies and on the 21st of October, 1998 for local Authorities and Health Boards.

What can you ask for?
You can ask for the following records held by Local Authorities, Health Boards, Government Departments and certain public bodies:

  • Any records relating to you personally, whenever created
  • All other records created after 21st of October, 1998 (in the case of Government Department and certain Public Bodies, this date is the 21st of April, 1998).
  • Reasons for decisions made by the Council that affect you.

What is a record?
A "record" can be a paper document, information held on computer, printouts, maps, plans, microfiche, audio-visual etc.

How should you make your request?

You should make your request in writing (download application form here) to Brendan Hynes , Freedom of Information Officer, Corporate Performance and Change Management Department, County Hall, Tallaght, Dublin 24

You should state that you are requesting the information under the Freedom of Information Act 2014  and be clear enough so that the Council fully understands  what records are being sought.

A valid request must satisfy these requirements. In cases  where the Council receives  requests  for records  that do not satisfy the above criteria, it is obliged to consult the requester to amend the request.

Do you have to pay?
There is no FOI request fee but fees  may  be charged for the cost of photocopying, searching  for  and  retrieving records. However, it is unlikely that search and  retrieval charges  will be applied by the Council for the vast majority of cases that relate to requests  for access to personal records only.

Charges  may apply in respect of the search and retrieval (€20.00 per hour) of  information  in addition to photocopying charges (4 cent per sheet),€10.00 per cd and €6.00 for x-rays.These charges apply only where the costs exceed the minimum threshold of €100 up to a cap of €500(appropriate maximum amount).There is a further upper limit on such charges of €700 called the ‘overall ceiling limit’ above which the Council can refuse to process a request,unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search,retrieval and copying  fees below the limit.

When will the Council make a decision?
The Act requires that South Dublin County  Council  must

  • Acknowledge receipt of the request within two weeks
  • Make a decision on the request within four weeks*

*There are certain circumstances under the FOI Act where the period for a final decision may be longer than the normal four weeks. If this occurs  with your request we will promptly advise you in writing.

Can you appeal the decision?
Yes . If you are not satisfied with the decision on an FOI request you may ask the Council for an "internal review" of the decision. A more senior officer will review your application. You will be told the result of this review within 3 weeks.

If you are not satisfied with the decision on "internal review", you may ask the Information Commissioner to review the matter. The Information Commissioner is Mr. Peter Tyndall and he may be contacted at the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner, 
18, Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2.

Tel No:01- 6395689

Website: http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/

What information is exempt?
Certain types of information are exempt under the Act. Examples would include information obtained in confidence, commercially sensitive information, personal details (other than to the person to whom they relate), deliberations of public bodies, law enforcement, public safety, functions and negotiations of public bodies.

Do you need to make a Freedom of Information request for all types of information?
No. South Dublin County Council is committed to making  information available to the public through publications, annual report, minutes of Council meetings etc. Information is also made available through Planning & Environment Legislation. If the information you request is already available generally or available at a fee then your request may be refused under the Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not already routinely available.

Further Information:-
The Freedom of Information Act 2014  is available from Government Publications, Sales Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

The Council has produced a Publication Scheme under Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014  Publication Scheme | South Dublin County Council which includes general information about the Council, information on  functions and  services provided, information on decision making procedures, financial information, procurement information and other miscellaneous information.

You may also contact the Council's Freedom of Information  Officer, Brendan Hynes  on telephone number  414 9000  or at the address below for any further information you may  require in relation to your rights of access to information under the Act.

Brendan Hynes ,
Freedom of Information Officer,
Corporate Performance and  Change Management Department ,
South Dublin County Council,
County Hall,
Tallaght,
Dublin 24

Email: foi@sdublincoco.ie

SUMMARY OF FEES

Fee Type Standard Fee Medical Card holders*
Request for a record No charge No charge
Internal Review €30 €10

Review by Information Commissioner

€50 €15
Search,retrieval and copying costs which do not exceed €100 No charge No charge
Search,retrieval and copying costs of €101 or more and up to €700 €20 per hour in respect of the full search and retrieval costs,€10 per cd,€6 per x-ray and 4 cent per page of photocopying subject to a cap of €500. Same as standard fee
Search,retrieval and copying costs above €700 If requester does not refine the FOI  request to bring costs below €700 and the  request is processed by the Council, the  full actual cost of producing records will apply. Same as standard fee

* Medical Card holders should provide details of Card Number and  issuing Health  Service Executive Division.

How do public bodies establish if a requester is covered by a medical card?
While public bodies are encouraged to inform users of the Act of their entitlements, there is an onus on the requester both to claim medical card coverage when making a request and to provide appropriate evidence in support of such coverage. Evidence could include details of the medical card registration number, issuing health board and the consent of the person making the request to the verification of the details with the health board.While public bodies are encouraged to inform users of the Act of their entitlements, there is an onus on the requester (if applicable)both  to claim medical card coverage when  making a request and to provide appropriate evidence in support of such coverage. Evidence could include details of the medical card registration number, issuing  Health Service Executive Division and  the consent of the person  making the request to the verification of the details with the Health Service Executive.

Related Documents

FOI Disclosure Log
Document type: Publications - pdf
Freedom of information application form
Document type: Form - doc