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The FOI Act provides, that from the effective date, every person has the following legal rights:

  • the right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies as defined by the act.
  • the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
  • the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.

Regulations provide that parents, guardians and next-of-kin may apply to exercise these rights in certain circumstances.

These rights mean that people can seek access to personal information held on them no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after the effective date.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, all bodies that conform to the definition in Section 6(1) of the Act are subject to FOI, unless they are specifically exempt, in whole or in part, either in Section 42 or in Schedule 1 of the Act. The definition is as follows:

6. (1) Subject to this section, each of the following shall be a public body for the purposes of this Act:

(a) a Department of State;

(b) an entity established by or under any enactment (other than the Companies Acts);

(c) any other entity established (other than under the Companies Acts) or appointed by the Government or a Minister of the Government, including an entity established (other than under the Companies Acts) by a Minister of the Government under any scheme;

(d) a company (within the meaning of the Companies Acts) a majority of the shares in which are held by or on behalf of a Minister of the Government;

(e) a subsidiary (within the meaning of the Companies Acts) of a company to which paragraph (d) relates;

(f) an entity (other than a subsidiary to which paragraph (e) relates) that is directly or indirectly controlled by an entity to which paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) relates;

(g) a higher education institution in receipt of public funding;