Back in 2011 I wrote here that while the new Government proposed to restore the FOI Act to its pre-2003 position: “I trust not the words of politicians, but their actions..”
We were right to be concerned, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin went on to try and justify, repeatedly, the retention of an FOI fee regime (albeit slightly reduced).
Today it has emerged that the Government is proposing to abolish the upfront fee. I would again repeat: “trust not the words of politicians, but their actions..”. While we welcome any move to abolish fees, we must have sight of the proposed new wording of the Freedom of Information Bill 2013. Until we do, we cannot assess the significance of the announcement.