Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Topical Issue Debate
Home Loan Scheme
I will certainly talk to the officials and the Minister. I disagree slightly with Deputy Fleming in the sense that when one is dealing with the private information of citizens, there are reasonable circumstances in which that information must remain private. That certainly applies to financial information. Two freedom of information requests for the credit policy were submitted to the Department in March but were refused under the Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that the documents were commercially sensitive and that their release would be contrary to the financial and economic interests of the State. Perhaps a balance can be struck regarding the rights of citizens to access their own personal information but equally, commercial sensitivity is attached to lending decisions by whatever organisation - in this case, an arm of the State - makes that decision. It may well have other impacts on the wider public good.
I will speak to officials about the possibility of whether there can be some meeting of minds but the information is quite sensitive and its release could have other negative effects.