Freedom of Information

HEAnet CLG – Freedom of Information

The FoI Section in HEAnet is responsible for assisting the general public and staff exercise their rights under the Freedom of Information Act.

The new Freedom of Information Act 2014  was signed into law on 14 October 2014. This replaces the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.

How to make a request

Requests for information can be made as follows by:

  • Sending an email to foi@heanet.ie
  • Writing to Freedom of Information Officer, HEAnet, 1st Floor, 5 George’s Dock, IFSC, Dublin 1

If you require any assistance or have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 01 6609040 or by email foi@heanet.ie

Access to Information within HEAnet CLG

The Act requires FOI bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. In most cases, the body must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it. Also, FOI bodies are required to publish information in line with the model publication scheme, and are encouraged to publish as much information as possible outside of FOI.

Under the FOI Act, anyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available. Each person has a right to:

  • access to records held by the HEAnet;
  • correction of personal information relating to oneself held by the HEAnet where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading;
  • access to reasons for decisions made by the HEAnet directly affecting oneself.

Among the key exemptions are records relating to:

  • Government meetings
  • law enforcement and security
  • confidential and commercially sensitive information
  • personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).

 Fees

  • The €15 application fee has been abolished;
  • There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged.  Once the charge  reaches €101, full fees apply;
  • There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
  • There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
  • The fee for internal review under Section 21 is now €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependents)
  • The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependents)

Please be as detailed and as specific as possible when requesting information as this will enable staff at HEAnet to speedily reply to your request. If you require a reply in a particular format, please mention this in your application. The staff of the FOI section will be glad to assist you in preparing your request.

Right of Review and Appeal 

The FOI Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where HEAnet invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be appealed. Details of the appeals mechanisms are set out in the following paragraphs.

Internal Review

Applicants may seek an internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by an official at a higher level, if:

  1. the applicant is dissatisfied with the initial response received, e.g. refusal of information, form of access, charges, etc., or
  2. the applicant has not received a reply within four weeks of the initial application – this is deemed to be a refusal of the request and allows the applicant to proceed to internal review.

Requests for an internal review should be submitted in writing to the FOI Section:

HEAnet CLG, 1st Floor, 5 George’s Dock, IFSC, Dublin 1.

Telephone: 01 6609040 / Email: foi@heanet.ie 

A request for an internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. HEAnet must complete the review within three weeks. An internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Information Commissioner.