Freedom of Information

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Freedom of Information

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act, 1997 came into effect for St. Luke’s Hospital on 21st October 1999. The 1997 Act and the 2003 (Amendment) Act were repealed by the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

The Acts establish three statutory rights:

  • The right to access official records/information held by Public Bodies.

  • The right to have personal information amended where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.

  • The right to be given reasons for decisions taken by Public Bodies that effect them.

    These rights mean that members of the public may seek access to personal information held on them, regardless of when the information was created, subject to availability, having regard to the public interest and the right to privacy.

 

How can a request be made?

Requests may be made to:

The Freedom of Information Officer, St. Luke’s Hospital, Highfield Road, Rathgar, Dublin, 6.

Requests must:

  • Be made in writing
  • State that the request is made under the F.O.I. Act.
  • Indicate clearly the records/information requested. Specify the manner of access sought; i.e. arrangements to view/discuss the records at the Hospital or to receive a copy of the records.
  • Produce proof of identity. This will be sought before access to personal information is granted.
  • Officers of the Hospital must assist the Requester to put his/her request in such a way that it complies with the requirements of the Act. The requester must receive acknowledgment of his/her request within two weeks and generally a decision within four weeks from the date of receipt of the request.

Can I get access to any information that I seek?

Any official information held by Public Bodies can be sought under the Act. However, in certain defined circumstances, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information. These are set out in Sections 19-32 of the Act. Some key exemptions are records relating to:

  • Personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).

  • Information supplied to the Hospital in confidence.

  • Law enforcement and Public Safety.

  • Commercially sensitive information.

  • Deliberations of Public Bodies

  • Functions and Negotiations of Public Bodies.

    While the Hospital will seek to protect the privacy of individuals and information supplied in confidence, in certain circumstances it may be in the public interest to release such information.

Is there a charge for accessing information under the F.O.I. Act?

Personal and other Information will normally be given free of charge.

There are charges for Internal Review and Appeals to the Information Commissioner(see below)

There is also a search and copying charge which may apply to non personal information

Requesters cannot be charged for time spent on deciding whether or not to grant their request.

Options available to Requester if not happy with decision by St. Luke’s Hospital.

Requesters who are not satisfied with the response they receive can appeal to St. Luke’s Hospital for an internal review of the decision. Someone more senior that the original decision-maker will undertake the internal review. The reviewer can change or agree with the original decision.

If unhappy with the result of the internal review, the requester has the right to apply to the Information Commissioner (18, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, 2), for an independent review.

The following charges are applicable to internal review and independent review.

  • €30.00 for internal review

  • €50.00 for independent review by Information Commissioner

Is it always necessary to make a FOI request?to get information from St. Luke’s Hospital?

No, You may be able to obtain the information you require by other means such as:

  • By discussion with the relevant member of the Hospital's staff.
  • By information leaflets, annual reports, etc. which the Hospital publishes.
  • Administrative access applications may be made by writing to: The Freedom of Information Officer, St. Luke’s Hospital,  Highfield Road, Rathgar, Dublin, 6.  Personal/Medical records may be requested/accessed through our Administrative Access procedure. Only information which cannot be released under our Routine Access or Administrative Access policies will be dealt with under Freedom of Information Act.