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FoI requests to Department increase by almost 100%

The new Act, which came into play in October last year, removed the charge for non-personal FoI requests, which had previously been set at €15. The Act also reduced the charges for search and retrieval costs.

In the period October 2014 until June 2015, a total of 224 requests were received by the Department of Health. This compares to a total of 117 received during the same period 12 months previously, from October 2013 until June 2014.

The HSE also experienced a significant increase. Between October and June 2015, 324 requests were received — this compares to 212 during the period October 2013-June 2014.

“January-June 2015, 220 were received; in the same period in 2014, 143 were received,” a HSE spokesperson told MI.

The Executive has only taken in €315 so far this year in FoI fees (search and retrieval and other internal review fees), compared to a 2013 total of €5,677 and a 2014 total of €3,514.

The Department has also experienced a drop in revenue following the change in legislation. In 2012, the Department accrued €7,286 in FoI charges (fees plus search and retrieval costs), €6,730 in 2013 and in 2014, €5,529. This year to date, only €524 has been raised, all from search and retrieval.

Recent years had witnessed a fall in the number of FoI requests submitted to the Department. In 2012, the Department of Health received 340 requests; in 2013, 240; and in 2014, 235.

However, the change in legislation has seen this trend reversed.

“January-June 2015, 160 [requests] were received; in the same period in 2014, 113 were received,” a Department of Health spokesperson added.

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