Freedom of Information
If the information you require is not currently made publically available by Sunbeam House Services, you may consider making a Freedom of Information Request. See below on how to make this request.
The Freedom of Information Act 1997 (FOI) as amended by the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 obliged government departments, the Health Service Executive (HSE), local authorities and a range of other public bodies to publish information on their activities and to make the information they held, including personal information, available to citizens.
On 14 October 2014, the Freedom of Information Act 2014 came into effect and repealed the 1997 and 2003 Acts. The new Act introduced a number of changes to the Freedom of Information scheme and widened the range of bodies to which the FOI legislation applies to all public bodies, unless specifically exempt. It also allows for the Government to prescribe (or designate) other bodies receiving significant public funds, so that the FOI legislation applies to them also.
The old legislation continues to apply to any FOI request made before the new legislation came into effect. It also applies to any subsequent review or appeal.
- A legal right for each person to access information held by a body to which FOI legislation applies.
- A legal right for each person to have official information relating to himself/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.
- A legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting himself/herself.
- The request must be in writing to the :
Sunbeam House Services,
- You must state that the request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act and what records you are seeking, supply as much detail as possible.
- You must state the manner in which access is sought, e.g. inspect the originals, obtain photocopies, hear/view audio-visual record, obtain a copy of a computer disk or other electronic device, etc.
- You must supply proof of identity in the case of personal information – acceptable forms of identity include:
o Certified copy of current valid signed Passport;
o Certified copy of full Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland/UK driving licence or provisional licence;
o Certified copy of Garda Identification (ML10) form and photograph;
o Certified copy of National Identity Card – must show photograph;
You can ask for the following records:
- Any records relating to you personally, whenever they were created
- All other records created after a certain date – 21 October 1998 for the HSE and local authorities – 21 April 1998 for public bodies that were covered by the old FOI legislation – 21 April 2008 for public bodies that were not covered by the old FOI legislation – the date of the prescribing order (or a specified date) for prescribed bodies
A record can be a paper document or information held on computer. It includes, for example, printouts, maps, plans, microfilm, audio-visual material, disks and tapes.
- Personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request);
- Information supplied to Sunbeam House Services in confidence;
- Law enforcement and public safety;
- Commercially sensitive information;
- Deliberations of Public bodies;
- Matters subject to Client Privilege;
- Functions and negotiations of Public bodies.
Section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides for fees and charges. The current application fees are:
- Initial request for a record – €Free (reduced rate – €Free)
- Internal review – €30 (reduced rate – €10)
- Review by Information Commissioner – €50 (reduced rate – €15)
- Application for amendment containing incorrect information – €Free (reduced rate – €Free )
- Application for reasons for a decision affecting individual – €Free (reduced rate – €Free )
* There are no fees where you appeal a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a specific amount.
** Reduced fees will apply in respect of medical card holders and third parties who appeal a decision to release their information on public interest grounds.
No fees apply where the request involves access to your personal records.
CHARGES FOR SEARCH, RETRIEVAL AND COPYING OF RECORDS
Charges may be applied by the body for the time spent finding and retrieving records, and for any copying costs incurred by them in providing you with the material requested. It is very unlikely that any charges will be applied in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.
If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, no charge is applied. If the charge exceeds €100, full fees apply. You cannot be charged more than €500.
If the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700 the body can refuse to process your request, unless you refine your request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below this limit.
- Search and retrieval of records – €20 per hour
- Photocopying – 4 cent per sheet
- CD-ROM containing copy of documents – €10
- Radiograph (X-ray) containing copy documents – €6