Friday 19 July 2019

Finance sees rise in FOI requests

Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Gordon Deegan

The number of FOI requests lodged with the Department of Finance to date this year outstrips the entire number of requests made in 2014.

Figures provided by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, to TD Barry Cowen in a written Dail response show the number of FOI requests lodged with the Department to the end of May totals 178. This compares to 165 for 2014.

The sharp rise in FOI requests follows the Government abolishing the standard €15 fee for non-personal requests.

The number of FOI requests made to the Department for Public Expenditure totals 113 compared to 110 for 2014.

Speaking about the sharp rise, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said: "Maybe it is an initial surge - I hope that people will be a little bit more discerning, that there is a purpose behind every application because there is a cost." He added: "I remember during the debate on the FOI Act - when we charge for a lot of services, it was a big ask not to charge for FOI because there is a cost involved.

"But I think... to give people confidence in public administration, it was an important step to take and the resources to meet all the requirements in every Government department will be provided."

Irish Independent

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