Commissioner concerned over demand on services as Information Act extended

Wednesday 07 May 2014 22.38
Peter Tyndall says 'bastions of secrecy' still exist in some parts of the public service
Peter Tyndall says 'bastions of secrecy' still exist in some parts of the public service

The Information Commissioner has expressed concern that his office will have difficulty dealing with the anticipated increased demand for its services once the Freedom of Information Act is extended to all public bodies.

An Garda Síochána, the Central Bank, the National Asset Management Agency and the National Treasury Management Agency are among the bodies that will come under the new Freedom of Information Act.

Although the office has been given funds to employ five extra staff, Peter Tyndall said he is not persuaded that demand will not outpace his office's ability to deal with requests.

Last year the office received 335 applications for review, of which 260 were accepted. 

A total of 18,985 FOI requests were made to public bodies in 2013.

The Health Service Executive and hospitals account for seven of the top ten public bodies in receipt of freedom of information requests.

While Mr Tyndall said that largely Irish public bodies have become more open and transparent, "bastions of secrecy" still exist in some parts of the public service.