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Freedom of information FAQ

Freedom of information FAQ

What is freedom of information?

The Freedom Of Information Act provides, that from 21 April 1998, every person has the following new legal rights:

  • The right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies listed in 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 parents, guardians and next-of-kin with the above rights.

These rights mean that from 21 April 1998 people can seek access to personal information held on them no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after 21 April 1998.

How do I make a freedom of information request?

If you would like to make a request for information, please take a look at the following page:

What are the benefits of freedom of information?

The Act will provide for greater access to official information by citizens. The experience of other countries with freedom of information legislation is that, because the records produced by public servants are more likely to be seen by the public, the process of making decisions and giving reasons for them has improved greatly.

How does it work?

The Act requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it.

Also, public bodies must produce reference books setting out the structure of their organisation, the arrangements in place for providing information and any rules, guidelines or practices they use in reaching decisions that effect the public.

These books are available from the public bodies concerned. Some public bodies will also have their reference books available on the internet and on CD-ROM.

What information can I get access to?

Any official information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act.

However, in order to allow Government business to be properly conducted, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in the Act. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:

  • Government meetings.
  • Law enforcement and security.
  • Confidential and commercially sensitive information.

Personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).

I'm not happy with a decision on my request - What can I do?

If you are not happy with a decision on your request for information, please take a look at the following page for more information.

Will I be charged?

There are various charges which apply for various types of information. Please take a look at the following page to find out more.

Can I request sections 15 and 16 of the freedom of information manual?

Yes. Please get in touch using the following details if you would like to request sections 15 and 16 of the freedom of information manual:

Freedom of information Officer
Cavan County Council
Farnham Street
Cavan Town
County Cavan

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