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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s

General Information
It is not possible to seek records held by other FOI Bodies  through the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit (CPU) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. If you want to access records held by a public body you must apply directly to that public body.

For example:  If you want records about a policy matter at the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government, you must apply to that Department or if you want access to your medical records, you must apply to the appropriate regional FOI Officer in the HSE.

Is it always necessary to make a FOI request to get information from public bodies?
You may be able to obtain the information you require by other means such as:

  • By having a discussion with a staff member of the public body
  • By looking at information leaflets, annual reports, etc. which the public body publishes
  • By ‘administrative access’, i.e. by writing or emailing  the appropriate Officer of the public body stating the information/record that you are requesting.

Before you submit your Freedom of Information request check the Public Bodies Publication Scheme on their website to see if the information is readily available.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is FOI?
2. What Bodies are covered by FOI?
3. What are the benefits of FOI?
4.  How does it work?
5. What Information can I get access to?
6. I’m not happy with a decision on my request – What can I do?
7. Will I be Charged?
8. Do I need to make an FOI request to get information from public bodies?
9. How Do I Make an FOI Request?
10. Is there a fee?
11. What are my rights of appeal?
12. What is a “Publication Scheme”?
13. How often do Public Bodies have to review their publication scheme?
14. Can a parent or guardian have access to their childs medical records?
15. Can a person get access to their records from a general practitioner(GP)?
16. Are all Commercial Bodies exempt from FOI legislation?
17. What is the retrospective date for New Bodies under 2014 FOI Act?
18. What is the retrospective date for personal information?
19. What FOI decisions can the Commissioner carry out a review on?
20. When can the Commissioner accept an ‘application for review’ that has not been subject to an internal review?

Click here for links to Government Department websites