Information Bill is fatally flawed - FF

 

THE Government's Bill on Freedom of Information is "fatally flawed" because it does not end the restrictive culture of secrecy that pervades the Irish public service, Fianna Fail said yesterday.

Dr Michael Woods, the party's spokesman on Equality and Law Reform, said the Bill did not abolish the Official Secrets Act. It would still be an offence for a civil servant to release almost any information without authorisation.

The extent of the material exempted from disclosure was so wide-and far-reaching as "to defeat for all practical purposes the intent of the Bill". Fourteen extensive sections were devoted to the exemptions proposed, which included the Department of Agriculture.

Dr Woods said the Bill placed the onus on the citizen to appeal refusal of information.