FOI implementation review panel

Last month we were asked by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to participate in a review of the implementation of FOI (NOT related to the legislation, but rather to how the legislation is implemented).

We agreed, in the view that being part of a process of review is better than not – and there is a need for the views of readers and supporters of TheStory.ie to be represented.

Other participants in the review include Tom Felle from the University of Limerick, Colm Keena from the Irish Times, Maeve McDonagh from UCC (for whom I have given guest FOI related lectures, pro bono, to UCC students), Nuala Haughey from Transparency International Ireland, Seamus Dooley from the NUJ, Peter Feeney from RTE, Stephen Rafferty from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), former secretary general of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Gerry Kearney and some FOI managers from the Department including William Beausang, Ronan Fox, Jacinta O’Meara and Ron O’Connor.

As always we will publish details of meetings that TheStory.ie is involved in, included the date, time, duration, purpose and subject matter of the discussions. Previous access to information advocacy meetings are available in this spreadsheet.

We arrange and attend meetings in our spare time, with the sole motivation of serving the public interest for access to information rights. Of course, we *could* be in the pub instead. But we’d rather be acting on your behalf. We often do go to the pub afterwards though. Usually it’s Gavin who is in these meetings.

In somewhat unrelated news we sent an FOI to the same department seeking details of how FOI is implemented over the past two years, details of expenditure by the Department, the diary of the Secretary General of the Department Robert Watt, and other matters. This information was received on April 3 and in paper format. We will publish it as soon as possible, though the information obtained will help inform our views on how FOI policy is handled by public bodies.

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