FoI documents to be published online


7 Apr 2003

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The Department of Communmications, the Marine and Natural Resources will carry all Freedom of Information (FoI) documents on its website from next week.

The decision is being seen as a defensive reaction on the part of the Government to the criticism it faced when it imposed new restrictions on the act.

Minister Dermot Ahern TD said the move will increase public access to official documents.

The Minister said that from 15 April new FoI requests submitted to his department would be available at the department’s site (www.dcmnr.ie).

He said: “I am taking the step with a view to having all information released under FoI legislation simultaneously placed on my department’s wesbite.”

He added: “I have instructed my officials to assess the practical and technical feasability of such a move and to investigate the establishment of a pilot project in the near future.”

Requests and releases relating to personal information will be exempted. It’s understood other government departments are thinking of doing the same.

The department said is also going to spend up to 10pc of its €400,000 annual advertising budget online.

The Government faced fierce criticism when it announced the amendements to the act.

The act will, among other things, restrict access to government memoranda and will charge high fees in order to make access more difficult.

By Suzanne Byrne