Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has accused Minister Brendan Howlin of a complete u-turn on promises to reform and expand Freedom of Information legislation.
Deputy Fleming made the comments as the Government today voted through measures in the Dáil to undermine the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information legislation.
Deputy Fleming said, “Today Minister Brendan Howlin introduced a raft of changes to Freedom of Information legislation in the Dáil, creating secrecy in a whole range of areas, despite promises of reform and openness. The entities listed below are subject to FoI but Minister Howlin has now decided to change this.”
Minister Howlin is:
• Excluding the performance of the new Strategic Banking Corporation (SBCI)
• Excluding certain aspects of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)
• Excluding in its entirety the Shannon Group
• Excluding in its entirety the Irish Red Cross
• Excluding investigations and monitoring of public bodies by the An Coimisinéir Teanga
• Restricting the effective date of information available from the Private Residential Tenancies Board
• Restricting the effective date of information available from the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal
“The Government was shamed into including Irish Water under the provisions of the Freedom of Information. This was a positive step forward and sent a signal that transparency and openness is the way forward in building trust with the public. Unfortunately the government has gone in the opposite direction.
“It is deeply disturbing that he has rail-roaded these measures through the Dáil and undermined the FoI legislation” said Deputy Fleming.