The Cabinet has approved a plan to review the current Freedom of Information legislation.

The review is expected to be completed by the middle of next year and recommendations will then be presented to Government.

Approval for the review was sought by Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath.

On his way in to the meeting, Mr McGrath said he wanted to reassure the public that this review is to improve the legislation rather than "narrow or limit the scope of it".

He said it would broaden and improve the Act to ensure it meets the needs of people.

The Minister said he would look at proposed legislation prepared by opposition parties in "good faith".

He said the legislation needs to be updated to reflect changes in the way we use, store and access data.

The act sets out the rules by which members of the public can access records held by Government departments and agencies.

The current freedom of information legislation was enacted in 2014.

The review will consider how the system can be brought up to date to take account of changes in the way information is viewed and stored.

However, Sinn Féin has urged the coalition to accept legislation in this area that it has drafted.

The party believes there is a lack of accountability for those failing in their obligations under the current act.

Legislation drawn up by TDs Mairéad Farrell and Sorca Clark would make those public bodies, which are only partially included in the present FOI model, fully part of the new system.

The Sinn Féin bill will now proceed to second stage following agreement in the Dáil this afternoon.

The legislation would grant enhanced powers to the Information Commissioner so that they could make a complaint to SIPO if an official or politician failed to follow the FOI rules.

It would also make the pensions of former Taoisigh, ministers and presidents available under FOI.

The legislation would end any exemption period from FOI when a private entity becomes a public body such as the Land Development Agency.