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Freedom of Information

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

Rights Under the Act

Under the FOI Act 2014, individuals are entitled to apply for access to information held in records that are not otherwise publically available.

Each individual has a legal right to:

  • access information held in records by public bodies;
  • have official information held by a public body relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
  • obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself taken by a public body.

The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.

Records under the Scope of the Act

The Act applies to all record types and can include:

  • Paper records - books, files, letters, loose papers, diaries, post-it notes, computer printouts etc
  • Electronic records - disks, CDs, e-mails, databases
  • Audio-visual records - films, videos, tape recordings
  • Photographs - maps, plans, x-rays, microfiche and microfilm

Records can be recorded or stored in any format, manual or electronic. The Act also covers drafts, parts and copies of records.

Access to Information in Records

Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemptions. Should the University withhold information under any of the FOI exemptions, the exemption that has been invoked will be clearly explained in the decision letter to the requester.

Some of the Key Exemptions built into the FOI Act

  • Personal information (other than information directly relating to the person making the request)
  • Commercially sensitive information
  • Information supplied to the University in confidence
  • Deliberations of the University
  • The performance of certain investigative functions and negotiations
  • Law enforcement and Public Safety
  • Research and Natural Resources

How to make an FOI request

Please click here for full details on how to make an FOI request.

Notes for University Staff regarding FOI

  • If you are contacted by an individual who wishes to make a request under FOI, please refer them directly to the FOI Unit - email: foi@ul.ie
  • If you receive a request in writing which cites the FOI Act, please re-direct it immediately to the FOI Unit, so it can be processed in accordance with the Act.
  • If you are not sure about the nature or status of a request for information, please contact the FOI Unit to discuss.
  • The FOI Act 2014 may be used to seek access to information in records that are not routinely available. If your job entails giving out routine information to staff, student and members of the staff, please continue to do so in line with your Unit's procedures.

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