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Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board

Kilminchy Court
Dublin Road
Portlaoise
Co. Laois R32 DTW5
Tel: (057) 8631912
Email: info@alab.ie

FOI/AIE requests

 

 

What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

Freedom of Information, or FOI, refers to rights provided to every person under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The Act provides that from the effective date, every person has the following legal rights:

  •  The right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies as defined by the act.
  •  The right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete,   incorrect or misleading
  •  The right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.

Regulations provide that parents, guardians and next-of-kin may apply to exercise these rights in certain circumstances.
These rights mean that people can seek access to personal information held on them no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after the effective date.

 

How does FOI work?         

The Act requires FOI bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. In most cases, public bodies 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.

 

What records can be requested?

Under the Act, the following records may be accessible:


•    All records created after the Act commenced on 21st April 1998
•    All personal records regardless of when they were created
•    All staff records created after 21st April 1995

 

 

What Information can I get access to?

Any official information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act.
However, in order to allow FOI bodies to properly conduct their business, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release, certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in the Act.
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)

 

 

How do I make a Freedom of Information Request to the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board?

You should send a request, in writing, to:

The Secretary,
Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB)
Kilminchy Court
Dublin Road
Portlaoise
Co Laois
Tel: +353 (57) 8631912
Email: info@alab.ie

 

 Your request should include the following:

  • A statement that the request is being made under the FOI Acts;
  • As much information as possible about the records being sought;
  • In what format you wish to receive any records released
  • The appropriate fee.

 

How much will it cost?

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides for a completely new FOI fees regime.  The Ministerial Order establishing the new fees regime (S.I. 531 of 2014) can be found here.  The following is a summary of the new fee structure in respect of non-personal requests:

  • 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 dependants)
  • The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants)

 

 

 

How soon can a person making a request for records expect a reply?

Under the Acts, a request for records must be acknowledged within 2 weeks and, in most cases, responded to within 4 weeks.  A week is defined in the Acts to mean 5 consecutive weekdays, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.  There are some limited situations under the FOI Acts, which could mean that the making of a decision could take longer than four weeks.  If this occurs, you will be notified in writing.

 

If you have not received a reply within 4 weeks, you are automatically entitled to consider that ALAB has refused to grant your request and you may immediately appeal to ALAB for a review on the matter.

 

What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?

You may appeal any decision issued by ALAB by writing to The Chairman, Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB), Kilminchy Court, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois seeking an internal review of the matter.  A fee of €75 may apply for such an appeal.

 

You should make your appeal within 4 weeks from the date of response (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances).  The appeal will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by the Chairman of the Board and a decision will be communicate to you within 3 weeks.

 

What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?

You may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Information Commissioner.  If you make and appeal the Information Commissioner will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision.  All appeals should be addressed to:

The Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2.
Tel:         +353 1 639 5689
LoCall:        1890 22 30 30
Fax:        +353 1 639 5674
Email:        info@oic.ie

 

A fee of €150 may apply for such an application.

 

Where can I get more information?

Further information can be obtained from:

The Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2.
Tel:         +353 1 639 5689
LoCall:        1890 22 30 30
Fax:        +353 1 639 5674
Email:        info@oic.ie

 

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform,
Central Policy Unit,
Floor 3,
7-9 Merrion Row,
Dublin 2.
Tel:         +353 1 631 8258
Fax:        +353 1 604 5750
Email:       cpu@per.gov.ie

 

 

FOI Act Sections 15 and 16 Reference Booklet (doc 27Kb) 

FOI Application Form (doc 15Kb) 

 

 

Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) 

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 and S.I 615 of 2014) (hereafter referred to as the AIE Regulations), give legal rights to those seeking to access information on the environment from public authorities.
Under these regulations, information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public authority must be made available on request, subject to certain exceptions.  The AIE regulations also oblige public authorities to be proactive in disseminating environmental information to the public.


The AIE Regulations provide a definition of environmental information; outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities and the manner in which public authorities are required to deal with requests e.g. timeframes for response.  The regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request


What is the difference between AIE and Freedom to Information (FOI)?
The Access to Information on the Environment Regulations operate in parallel with the Freedom of Information Act 2014.  While the two legislative codes are broadly similar (with respect to environmental information), the AIE Regulations and the FOI Acts differ in that a wider range of public authorities are covered by the AIE Regulations than by the FOI legislation.  There are also material differences in the grounds under which access to information can be refused under the two legislative codes.

Is there a charge for getting information under the AIE Regulations?
There is no initial fee required when lodging a request for information under AIE.  A Public Authority may however, charge a reasonable fee when it makes available environmental information in accordance with the Regulations. Depending on the volume of information to be released, the Department of  Agriculture, Food  and the Marine may charge for the time spent retrieving records which could, for example, include the cost of staff or other costs connected with searching, retrieving (€20 per hour), compiling or copying of the information (4 cent per sheet).
How do I make an AIE request?
Applications for Access to Information on the Environment should be made to the

The Secretary
Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board
Kilminchy Court
Dublin Road
Portlaoise
Co Laois.
Email: info@alab.ie

Tel: 057 8631912  


When making a request for information under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations you are required to:
•    State that the application is being made under the AIE Regulations
•    Submit it in writing by post, email or fax
•    Provide your contact details
•    Specify the form and manner of access desired


Normally you will be notified of the decision on your request within 1 month of its receipt. Where, due to the complexity or volume of information required, we are unable to respond within the one month timeframe, they are required to write to the applicant within the month, indicating when a response will issue.  This date should not be more than two months from the receipt of the original request.


A written outcome of the review informing you of the decision, the reason for the decision and advising you of your right of appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information, including the time limits and fees associated with such an appeal, will be issued to you within one month of the date of receipt of the request.


How do I make an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information?
A written appeal should be submitted to the Commissioner for Environmental Information at the:
Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2.
Telephone: 01- 6395689

Further contact details and information on the Commissioner's Office are contained on the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website at www.oic.ie.


The AIE Regulations provide that a fee of €50 must be charged for an appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. However, provision is also made for a reduced appeal fee of €15 for medical card holders and their dependents and also for people, not party to the original request for access to information, who are appealing a decision to release information which they believe will affect them.
Further information in relation to this regulation can be found on the Department of Environment, Community and Local Governments website

 

 


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