Freedom of Information

Applications under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014

The FoI Act is designed to allow public access to information held by public bodies which is not routinely available through other sources. Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemptions and involves specific procedures and time limits.

Under the Freedom Of Information Act, anyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available. Each person has a right to:

  • Access records held by the National Cancer Registry.
  • Correct personal information relating to oneself held by the National Cancer Registry where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading.
  • Access reasons for decisions made by the National Cancer Registry directly affecting oneself.

The following records come within the scope of the Act:

  • All records held by the National Cancer Registry which were created after the 21st April 1998.
  • Any record created before the 21st April 1998 if this record is necessary for understanding a record created after 21st April 1998.
  • All personal information about the requester which is held by the National Cancer Registry, regardless of when the records were created.

Applications for information under the FoI Act should be submitted to:

Ms Geraldine Finn
National Cancer Registry
Building 6800
Cork Airport Business Park
Kinsale Road
Cork.

Tel: +353 (0)21 4548803

Procedures for accessing information under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014

Applications should be made in writing and should indicate that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014. Requests sent by post should be sent to the following address:-

Ms Geraldine Finn
National Cancer Registry
Building 6800
Cork Airport Business Park
Kinsale Road
Cork

In preparing a request the following guidelines should be followed:

  • State that the request is made under the Freedom of Information Act, 2014.
  • Provide as much detail as possible to enable staff of the National Cancer Registry to identify the record.
  • Provide full personal details including name, address and contact telephone number.
  • State if the information is required in a particular form i.e. photocopy.

How Freedom of Information applications are dealt with

The Freedom of Information Act, 2014 sets down strict time limits for processing requests.

  • The National Cancer Registry is obliged to acknowledge your request within two weeks from the date of receipt.
  • You will be given the name of the person dealing with your request.
  • The National Cancer Registry is obliged to respond to your request within four weeks of receipt.

It may be necessary to extend this period for up to four more weeks if:

  1. Your request relates to a very large number of records, or a large number of requests for the same record(s) have been made.
  2. If the period is extended, you will receive notice of this before the end of the initial four week period, and the reasons for the delay will be given.

If your request is granted:

  • You will receive a letter stating that your request has been granted and the name of the person dealing with it.
  • You will be given the time frame within which this request will be granted.
  • You will be given details of any fees involved if applicable.

Rights of review and appeal

The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where the National Cancer Registry invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be the subject of appeal. Details of the appeal mechanisms are as follows:

Internal review

You may seek internal review of the initial decision which will be carried out by an official at a higher level if:

  1. You are dissatisfied with the initial response received, i.e. refusal of information, form of access, charges, etc, or
  2. You have not received a reply within four weeks of your initial application.

This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.

Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to:

Professor Kerri Clough-Gorr
Director
National Cancer Registry
Building 6800
Cork Airport Business Park
Kinsale Road
Cork

These reviews should clearly state that they are Freedom of Information requests. They must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. The National Cancer Registry must complete the review within three weeks of receipt of internal review application. Internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Information Commissioner.

Review by the Information Commissioner

If following completion of the internal review you still have been refused in part or total, you may seek independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. Also if you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within three weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Commissioner. In general an application for review by the Commissioner must be made within 6 months of the notification of the decision by the public body.

Appeals must be made in writing to the Information Commissioner at the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

Tel 01-6785222 LoCall 1890 223030
Fax 01-6610570
email foi [at] ombusdman.irlgov.ie

The Commissioner's decision can be appealed to the High Court on a point of law only.

Fees

There is no longer an application fee when making an initial FoI request.

Internal review fees

A standard application fee of €30 must accompany an application for internal review under section 14 of the Act.

A reduced fee of €10 applies if the person bringing the application is a medical card holder or a dependent of a medical card holder.

The following internal review applications are free of charge:

  1. An application in relation to a decision concerning records containing only personal information related to the applicant.
  2. An application in relation to a decision under section 9 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information).
  3. An application in relation to a decision under section 10 (right of person to information regarding acts of public bodies affecting the person).
  4. An application in relation to a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a particular amount.
  5. An appeal of a decision which is deemed to be refused because the original request was not replied to within the required time limits.

Review by Information Commissioner

A standard application fee of €50 must accompany applications to the Information Commissioner for review of decisions made by public bodies under section 34 of the Act.

A reduced fee of €15 applies if

  1. The person bringing the application is a medical card holder or a dependent of a medical card holder or
  2. The person is specified in section 38 (2) i.e. a third party with the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner where a public body decides to release their information on public interest grounds.

The following applications to the Information Commissioner do not require an application fee:

  1. An application concerning records containing only personal information related to the applicant.
  2. An application in relation to a decision under section 9 (right of amendment of records relating to personal information).
  3. An application in relation to a decision under section 18 (right of person to information regarding acts of public bodies affecting the person).
  4. An appeal of an internal review decision which is deemed to be refused because that decision was not made within the required time limits.

Search and retrieval and photocopying fees

Fees may be charged, for the searching for, retrieval of and copying of records, as follows:

  • There is a minimum threshold of €101, below which there is no charge. Where fees amount to €101 and upward, full charges apply.
  • There is, however, a cap of €500 on such fees except in certain circumstances.
  • There is a further upper limit (Overall Ceiling Limit) of €700, above which the FoI Body may refuse to process the request unless the scope of the request is refined, to bring the total cost of the processing under the €700 limit.

Section 27 of the FoI Act sets out the rules for applying search and retrieval fees. Fees are currently set as follows in accordance with Statutory Instruments No. 531 of 2014

  • €20 per hour - search and retrieval
  • €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
  • €10 for a CD-ROM
  • €6 for an X-Ray

Building 6800
Cork Airport Business Park
Kinsale Road, Cork T12 CDF7
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Tel: +353 (0) 21 4318014
Fax: +353 (0) 21 4318016

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