Gilmore says it is ‘reasonable’ that charges are levied for multiple FOIs

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin’s proposals to charge additional fees and exclude Irish Water from remit criticised

Eamon Gilmore: “I think it’s reasonable that a reasonable charge is paid” for FoI requests

Eamon Gilmore: “I think it’s reasonable that a reasonable charge is paid” for FoI requests


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has defended an amendment to the proposed Freedom of Information Bill which the National Union of Journalists has said will make requests unaffordable.

A subcommittee of the Oireachtas finance committee will begin consideration of the Bill this afternoon.

At committee stage, members will debate a number of new amendments tabled over the weekend by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

Under the amended Bill, where a request is made up of two or more parts “seeking separate and distinct information” relating to “different functional areas” of the body to whom the request is made, a separate fee will be required for each part.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Gilmore said that, over a period of time, there had been attempts to “get round” the Freedom of Information by including multiple queries in one request.

‘Reasonable charge’
“I think it’s reasonable that a reasonable charge is paid where there are multiple requests and where very considerable resources sometimes have to be mobilised in Government departments and State agencies to respond to the FOI request,” said Mr Gilmore.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said last night: “It is undermining of the fee per issue principle that several unrelated matters can be asked by way of a single request. Of course, subsets of the same question can be included in a single request. The legislation and the code of practice for FOI will make this clear.

“In the context of extraordinary pressure on the public purse and the requirement to charge for a range of essential services it is reasonable to require a small contribution to be made to the cost of information retrieval,” she added.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.