Serving Our Audience

RTÉ and Freedom of Information

A Guide to RTÉ and the application of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 applies to RTÉ in its capacity as the primary public service media organisation in Ireland.

  1. What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?
  2. How can I make an FOI request to RTÉ?
  3. Can I get access to any information that I seek?
  4. Answers to FAQs on FOI
  5. FOI Publication Scheme
  • A. Information about RTE
  • B. Services provided to the Public
  • C. Decision making process for major policy proposals
  • D. Financial information
  • E. Procurement
  • F. FOI Disclosure Log and other information 

1. What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI Act) provides that every person has the right to:

  • access records held by FOI bodies (as defined in the FOI Act)
  • have personal information held on them by an FOI body corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading
  • be provided with reasons for decisions taken by FOI bodies that affect them.

The Act requires FOI bodies to respond to requests for information that they hold. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within four weeks of receiving it.  FOI bodies are also required to publish information in line with the model publication scheme and are encouraged to publish as much information as possible outside of FOI.  Please note that it may not be necessary to make a request for information under the FOI Act. A certain amount of information may already be available to the public through websites, information leaflets, publications and in response to oral and written enquiries.

Further information is available on the website of the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at foi.gov.ie

A copy of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 is available here

For further queries on FOI in relation to RTÉ, you can email foi@rte.ie  or write to:

RTÉ Freedom of Information Office, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

2. How can you make an FOI request to RTÉ?

Send in a request using one of the following options:

Send a letter outlining your request to:

RTÉ Freedom of Information Office,
RTÉ, Donnybrook,
Dublin 4
.

Submit your request as an email to foi@rte.ie

Download the Freedom of Information Application Form (in English or Irish), complete it and email it back to us at foi@rte.ie

These forms can be found at the bottom of the page. 

- and post the completed form to: RTÉ Freedom of Information Office, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Your FOI request should include the following:

  • a declaration that your request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act
  • as much detail as possible about the requested records
  • the format you wish to receive any records released in (e.g. by post, by e-mail etc.)
  • your contact information.

Please note that proof of identity is required in the case of an FOI request for personal information.

Receive a letter of acknowledgement

We will issue a letter of acknowledgement to you within 10 working days (excluding public holidays) of your request being received. The next stages of the process will be clearly explained in this letter.

Decision is issued

A decision will normally be issued within 20 working days of the receipt of your request.  If an extension is necessary to facilitate the completion of the request, we will contact you and explain the requirement.

Please contact our FOI Unit if you require any assistance in making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 via post at:

RTÉ Freedom of Information Office, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 or by e-mail foi@rte.ie

3. What information can I access?

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 applies to RTÉ in its capacity as the primary public service media organisation in Ireland.

From 14 October 2015, please note that the public may seek access only to the following functions of RTÉ: management, administration, finance, commercial, communications and the making of contracts of or for service with any person, company or other body, but not to the editorial and programme-making functions of RTÉ, as these functions are exempt due to the following Regulations: 

Freedom of Information (FOI), 1997 (Prescribed Bodies) (No. 2) Regulations, 2000

RTÉ is subject to the Acts in relation to its functions with the exception of its programme related function.  This is provided for in the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (Prescribed Bodies) (No. 2) Regulations, 2000 (the “SI 115 of 2000”)

Relevant to determining whether records fall within these functions, is the High Court judgment in Raidió Teilifís Éireann v Information Commissioner, in which it was determined that even if a record relates to a function of management, administration, finance, commercial or communications, if the record relates to RTÉ’s editorial and programme-making function, then the record, or a part thereof, ought to be excluded from the application of the FOI Act. 

In the Explanatory Note it is stated that RTÉ is subject to FOI only for its non-programme related functions.  The full Statutory Instrument (S.I. 115/2000) is available on the Office of the Information Commissioner website (www.oic.ie). 

Schedule 3 of SI 115 of 2000 lists the kinds of records which are exempt. Paragraph one relates to the gathering and recording of news, information, data, opinions, on or off the record quotes or views from any person or body or source, for journalistic or programme content purposes.  Paragraph two relates to source information or material.  Paragraph three relates to the editing or storing of material for the purpose of programme origination.  

It therefore follows that any FOI requests containing information relating to the matters referred to above ought to be excluded from release, as they comprise an integral part of the programme-making processes within RTÉ. 

In order to allow RTÉ’s business to be properly conducted, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt certain types of information from release under specific circumstances set out in the Act. Among the exemptions are records relating to confidential or commercially sensitive information and personal information of other people.  If any exemptions are necessary, we will explain these to you.

Please note that a request could also be refused for other reasons, such as if it is voluminous and would require a substantial amount of extra work in order to try to search, retrieve, and copy records, or if the request is  unclear or not specific enough in order to identify and locate relevant records. If such a situation occurs, we will always offer to assist you to consider narrowing the scope of your request so that we can provide you with the information you are seeking.

4. Answers to some FAQs on Freedom of Information

Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?

There is no charge for submitting a request and there is no charge for receiving information if the records only contain personal information relating to the applicant (unless there are a significant number of records).

For non-personal requests, RTÉ is entitled to charge the following fees:

Cost of search, retrieval and copying of records

Fee charged

Less than €101

Free – no charge

€500 - €700

Maximum of €500

More than €700

RTÉ may refuse the request

Specific details of any charges relating to your request will be notified and explained to you in writing.

How to make a payment:

Payment should be made by cheque, bank draft or postal order and made payable to:

RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Listing of Freedom of Information fees

  • Search and Retrieval - €20 per hour (for requests that exceed the €100 minimum in terms of search, retrieval and copying), subject to the ceilings mentioned above.  Please note that RTÉ will provide you with an estimate of these fees before they are incurred;
  • Photocopying - €0.04 per sheet
  • Internal review fee €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
  • An appeal to the Information Commissioner costs €50 (€15 for medical card holders).

Additional notes:

  1. If you are claiming a reduced application fee, the request must be accompanied by the Medical Card registration number, issuing Health Board name and your consent to the verification of these details with that Health Board.
  2. A full list of fees is available from the RTÉ Freedom of Information Office on request.

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

You may appeal any decision by writing to:

RTÉ Group Secretary, FOI Internal Review Office, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, seeking an internal review of the matter.

A charge of €30 (€10 for medical card holders) may apply for such an appeal. There is no fee for internal review applications concerning only personal information or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.

You can make an appeal within four weeks of the date of response (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances).  The appeal involves a new and independent consideration of the matter by the Group Secretary of RTE and that decision will be communicated to you within three weeks.

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

If you are still not satisfied, you may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

 If you make an appeal, the Information Commissioner will fully investigate 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
E-mail:
info@oic.ie

A fee of €50 (€15 for medical card holders) may apply for such an application. Again, there is no fee for appeals to the Office of the Information Commissioner concerning only personal information or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.

FOI Publication Scheme

A. Information About the Distribution System Operator

RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is Ireland's national public-service media organisation. A leader in Irish media, RTÉ provides comprehensive, cost-effective, free-to-air multi-media services to the public in Ireland and interested audiences internationally.

RTÉ's radio service began on 1 January 1926, while television broadcasts began on 31 December 1961, making it one of the oldest continuously operating public service broadcasters in the world.

Learn more about the history of RTÉ here

Learn more about RTÉ and its services here.  

Learn more about RTÉ and how the organisation is run:

How RTÉ is funded;

Vision, Mission, Values

Executive Board

RTÉ Board

RTÉ Board: Term of Membership

RTÉ Audience Council

RTÉ's Public Service Statement 2015

Learn more about organisations under RTÉ’s remit:

2rn (Formerly RTÉNL)

Learn more about RTÉ’s policies and guidelines here

RTÉ Salaries

The table below provides an overview of the salaries paid to RTÉ staff on 31 December 2014 broken into salary bands:

Salaries 2014

B. Services provided to the Public 

Learn more about RTÉ and its services here and here.

Learn more about RTÉ’s Irish language action plan.

Learn more about access to RTÉ’s services here.

Contact the RTÉ Information office or make a complaint.

For information on Right of Reply.

C. Decision Making process for major policy proposals

Learn more about RTÉ’s policies and guidelines here and about our public service commitments.


D. Financial Information 

Learn more about RTÉ finances here.

Learn more about how RTÉ is funded.

E. Procurement 

According to RTÉ's Vision, Mission, Values, 'RTÉ is committed to providing the broadest range of value for money, quality content and services for all ages, interests and communities'. So achieving value for money in the procurement of works, supplies and services is essential to support its work in providing high quality service to the public in a cost-effective and efficient manner. RTÉ complies with the EU Procurement legislation and Irish Procurement Guidelines published by the Department of Finance. The guiding principles are objectivity, transparency, fairness and equality of treatment.

Financial commitments bind RTÉ and therefore must be authorised and executed entirely in accordance with RTÉ’s Policy and Procedures and with its system of internal financial control.

Learn more about RTÉ's Purchasing General Terms & Conditions

For information on current tender competitions visit the eTenders website

Learn more about RTÉ commissioning here.

F. FOI Disclosure Log and Other Information to be Published Routinely 
 
A Disclosure log detailing the FOI requests, received by RTÉ’s FOI Office from 14 April 2016 is given below. 

Disclosure Log as at July 2016

Related Links

www.rte.ie/about