Today the Dáil debates a Fianna Fáil Bill to expand the powers of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2012, produced by Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Seán Fleming TD would extend the remit of the Act to cover key public bodies including the Central Bank, NAMA and the NTMA.
Deputy Fleming said: “I believe many people will be surprised to hear that a number of important organisations do not currently come within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. Members of the public are not entitled to make freedom of information requests to these organisations and I will be seeking support from the Government in the Dáil to allow this legislation progress.”
The legislation would see the following groups subject to FoI:
- Central Bank of Ireland (administrative functions)
- National Asset Management Agency
- National Treasury Management Agency
- An Garda Síochána (administrative functions)
- Health and Safety Authority (enforcement functions)
- Property Registration Authority
- Road Safety Authority
- Vocational Educational Committees
Deputy Fleming said: “This legislation is extremely important. The Dáil needs to do what it can to strengthen public confidence in public administration and important bodies in society such as the Central Bank, NAMA – which is undertaking an enormous amount of work for the State – and the NTMA to name just a few. These are very powerful organisations and if politicians, on all sides, are serious about reform and regaining public trust in our institutions then this legislation should be progressed.
“The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill stipulates a maximum search and retrieval fee of €500 in each case. It also states that all new bodies established by government, for example Irish Water, should also come under the remit of Freedom of Information legislation.”