The FOI Act 2014 provides that every person has the following legal rights:
- the right to access official records held by Government Departments and all public bodies that conform to the provisions of Section 6 of the Act;
- the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.
These rights mean that you have the right to ask BIM to provide any records about yourself and records on other information.
You do not have to give a reason why you want to see these records. A decision on your Freedom of Information (FOI) request will usually be made within 4 weeks.
If you are considering making a freedom of information request and would like further information, please get in touch at email@example.com as the information you are looking for may be available outside of FOI.
What can I ask for?
- All records created after the Act originally commenced on 21 April 1998;
- All records created earlier if needed to understand records created after 21 April 1998;
- All records relating to personal information, irrespective of when they were created;
- All records of staff created after 21 April 1995, or earlier if used adversely against a staff member.
A record can be an electronic document, a printout, a map or audio-visual material
How do I make an FOI request?
You should send a request either, in writing or by email, to:
Bord Iascaigh Mhara
PO Box 12
+353 1 2144 100
Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request should include the following:
- A statement that the request is being made under the FOI Act;
- As much information as possible about the records being sought;
- In what format you wish to receive any records released (e.g. photocopies).
Alternatively, you may download the Application Form and submit this to the FOI Officer at email@example.com .
Do I have to pay?
There is no fee for making a request under the FOI Act. However, you may have to pay some fees for administration and reviews. Find out more about fees here.
How soon can I expect a reply?
Under the Act, a request for records must be acknowledged within 2 weeks and, in most cases, responded to within 4 weeks. If a third party is involved there may be another three weeks before a response issues.
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
The following records come within the scope of the FOI Acts:
- all records relating to personal information held by BIM regardless of when they were created;
- all other records created from the commencement of the FOI Act (21 April 1998);
- any records necessary to the understanding of a current record even if created prior to 21 April 1998;
- personnel records of serving staff created from 21st April 1995 and those created prior to that date where being used or proposed to be used in a way which adversely affects or may affect the person involved.
However, in order to allow BIM business to be properly conducted, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in the Act. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
- Government meetings,
- law enforcement and security,
- confidential and commercially sensitive information,
- personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
Requests may also be refused if they are deemed too voluminous or unclear but BIM will assist the requester in trying to overcome this.
Where can I get more information?
BIM follows the principles of openness, transparency and accountability and publishes as much information as possible. For example, we provide information on:
- FOI requests we have received
- How we make decisions that affect the public
- Funding and sponsorship of non-public bodies
Freedom of Information disclosure log 2016-2019
Freedom of Information disclosure log 2020
Find out more in the FOI Publication Scheme.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
If you are not happy with the decision made or you are denied access to information that you feel you should receive, you may ask BIM for an internal review by a more senior officer. They will inform you of the result of the review within three weeks. A request for an internal review should be sent to the FOI Officer at the contact details above.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the internal review, you can ask for a review by the Information Commissioner.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
You may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you make an appeal the Information Commissioner will investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to:
The Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Tel: +353 1 639 5689
Lo-call: 1890 22 30 30
Fax: +353 1 639 5674
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes. If you require any help, the FOI Officer in BIM will be happy to assist you in the formulation of your request.