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Department of Environment failing to meet Freedom of Information timeframes – Doherty

16 April, 2015 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Note: PQ relating to this press release is below.

A response to a Parliamentary Question from Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has shown that more than half of Freedom of Information requests to the Department of Environment this year relating to Irish Water were not answered within the statutory timeframe. 

The reply from Minister Alan Kelly’s Department outlined that fifty Freedom of Information requests relating to Irish Water were received by the department so far this year. Of those only twenty-three were answered within the statutory timeframe, a further ten were completed within an extended period, fourteen were answered outside the extended period timeframe and three are outstanding.

Speaking today Deputy Doherty said; 

“The Department of Environment is responsible for the Freedom of Information requests yet it has failed to answer more than half of requests submitted to that department on Irish Water this year within the statutory timeframe. 

“This is an outrageous situation and I would call on Minister Alan Kelly to make a statement on the matter at the earliest opportunity. 

“Freedom of Information requests are an important piece of our democratic fabric and they need to be taken seriously. 

“We should not allow a situation to exist where the department that is responsible for FoI requests can’t even facilitate its own requests. If this is a matter of resources the Minister should provide them without delay." 

ENDS

Question No.            769

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:                                                                 

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of Freedom of Information requests received by his Department relating to Irish Water since 1 January 2014; the number of these that were completed on time; the number that were completed after an extra requested period; the number that were not completed in either of these timeframes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Pearse Doherty.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 15th April, 2015.

Ref No:   14068/15

REPLY

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)

My Department received fifty Freedom of Information requests relating to Irish Water in the period 1 January 2014 to 10 April 2015.

Of those requests, twenty three were answered within the statutory timeframe. A further ten were completed within an extended period, which was required for additional consideration of the request and which was notified to the requestor. Fourteen requests were answered outside the timeframes and three requests are currently being processed.

While every effort is made within my Department to respond to requests as promptly as possible, it is sometimes necessary to extend the period for processing of requests due to reasons such as the need for third party consultation or the volume of material to be examined.

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