Freedom of Information act will be removed within weeks – take action, Dublin 5 Feb.

Share Button

HOW DID THIS SNEAK UNDER THE RADAR?????

Within weeks the 1997 Freedom Of Information Act will be removed from
the statute book. An unreported section of its proposed replacement,
(FOI Bill 2013) extinguishes the current legal obligation on public
bodies to make available to the public, information about themselves,
including information regarding their procedures, guidelines, rules,
precedents, etc for making decisions on entitlements and appeals
against decisions. Sections 15 and 16 FOI Act 1997. The public bodies
include, HSE, Bord Pleannala, institutes of education, social welfare,
city and town councils, etc. Under a replacement section of the 2013
FOI Bill the public institutions -themselves- will decide what
categories of information they will make available to the public. In
addition, new powers are vested in the Minister to ‘revise’ such
information if he or she “thinks fit.” to do so. It is expected that
all stages of the new bill will have passed through Dail and Seanad
Eireann within the following 6 to 8 weeks, following which it will be
codified into law. There is still time to retain what rights are
enshrined for the citizens in sections 15 and 16 but the clock is
ticking and the failure of media and opposition to notice or
appreciate the gravity of this literal ‘power grab’ -in the name of
FOI- has meant that government and the senior echelons of the civil
service nearly have this over the line. “…if officials make public
only what they want citizens to know, then publicity becomes a sham
and accountability meaningless.” Sissela, Bok Swedish philosopher. If
you want to take action, come to the PUBLIC MEETING Democracy
Protection Campaign. Abbey Hotel, Abbey St, Dublin, (opposite Arnotts
store) Wednesday 5th February, 7 pm.


Background info:
Here is a link to the latest discussions on FOI act in the Dáil and Seanad.