The FOI Act establishes three statutory rights:
What is the purpose of the Act?
The Act is designed to provide a right of access to information held by public bodies to the greatest extent possible.
However, the Act by making certain exceptions, seeks to achieve a balance between this right of access on the one hand, and on the other, the right to privacy and in some cases the public interest in maintaining confidentiality.
How does it work?
The Act requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. Generally public bodies must give a decision on a request within four weeks. Staff of public bodies must also assist members of the public seeking access to information.
The Act requires each public body to produce reference manuals setting out the structure of the organisation, the services provided and the arrangements in place for providing access to information (commonly known as section 15 Manuals). In addition a manual setting out rules, guidelines and practices used in decision making must be provided (section 16 Manuals). These manuals will be available on this website.
How can a request be made?
In writing and addressed to:
The Freedom of Information Unit, Greyhound Racing Ireland, Green Park, Dock Road, Limerick
Or emailed to:
1. State that the request is made under the FOI Act
2. Identify clearly the records/information sought
3. Specify the manner of access sought i.e. copy of record(s) or opportunity to view record
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Any official information can be sought under the Act. However, in certain circumstances it will be necessary to exempt information from release. Sections 19-32 of the Act outline exemptions which have to be considered. Key exemptions include:
While Greyhound Racing Ireland will seek to protect the privacy of individuals and information supplied in confidence, in certain circumstances it may be in the public interest to release such information.
Is there a charge for accessing information under the FOI Act?
In relation to personal information, a photocopying charge may apply.
Where non-personal information is provided, search and retrieval charges in addition to copying charges will usually apply.
The FOI Act provides for fees as follows:
A deposit may be payable where the total fee is likely to exceed €50.91. In these circumstances, every effort will be made to assist the requester to reduce or eliminate the amount of the fees payable.
What can I do if I am unhappy at the outcome of my request?
You will be advised of the review procedures by the Decision Maker handling your request.
Is it always necessary to make an FOI request to get information from public bodies?
No. You may be able to obtain the information you require by other means. You should enquire with Greyhound Racing Ireland in the first instance if the information can be provided to you outside the terms of the FOI Act.
The implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 is a landmark on the road to greater openness in the areas of decision making and access to information.