Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Freedom of Information

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offaly, Independent)
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186. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are plans to amend the Freedom of Information Acts to make the office of President and Áras an Uachtaráin subject to FOI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31813/22]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Supreme Court recently considered constitutional issues relating to the potential applicability of access to information regimes to President in the case of Right to Know v.Commissioner for Environmental Information [2022] IESC 19.

The Court's findings confirm, in light of the President's immunity under Article 13.8 1° of the Constitution, that any move to make the President or his staff subject to FOI would very likely be unconstitutional.  Accordingly, there are no plans at present to consider such an amendment, nor is it likely to be considered at any point of the future given the constitutional position.

However, a comprehensive review of the Freedom of Information legislation more generally is underway, which offers an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to have their say on the operation of the FOI regime and any issues they have experienced or proposals they may have.

A full public consultation in the review opened on 16 June, and will be taking submissions until 12 August.  I would encourage all Members of the Houses and anyone else who wishes to raise issues in relation to FOI to make their voices heard in the context of the review.

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