FOIs in the Republic: a richman’s hobby…

I’ve put in a few FOIs over the years. It’s difficult art. If it’s controversial in any way you nearly need to know the name and number of the document, before the civil servant will give it to you… You need to develop a fine understanding of the working of government to make them effectively… However in the south, it’s a costly business. And this morning, dropping the charges to citizens for making such requests was one of the things Brian Cowen refused to give on this morning after Leaders Questions:

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has today rejected claims that the cost of making Freedom of Information applications is excessive.

At present, a request for documents under FOI legislation costs €15 and an appeal against a refusal costs €75.

Any subsequent analysis by the Information Commissioner costs the applicant €150.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny accused one Government department of being deliberately obstructive with FOI requests in order to raise revenues.
However, Mr Cowen dismissed Mr Kenny’s remarks, saying he did not believe the costs were excessive.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty