FOI process at RCSI
Appointed FOI decision makers make decisions on applications for information under the FOI.
The FOI Unit will acknowledge the request within 10 working days and a decision will follow within 20 working days (or eight weeks in certain cases).
Following the receipt of an FOI application, the unit will forward them to the FOI decision maker in the relevant department for action.
- You will receive a letter confirming your request has been granted.
- It is customary for you to be advised of the name of the person dealing with your request.
- You will be informed when and how access to the relevant records will be provided and the manner in which it will be granted.
- You will be given details of the charges, as applicable.
- You will receive a letter stating that your request has been refused or only part granted and you will be given reasons for the refusal.
- You will be informed of your rights of review and appeal.
Right of review and appeal
The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may be damaging or inappropriate. Where RCSI invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be the subject of appeal. Details of the review and appeals mechanisms are as follows:
1. Internal review
You may seek an internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by nominated Internal Reviewers if:
- You are dissatisfied with the initial response received, i.e. refusal of information, form of access, fees, etc; or
- You have not received a reply within four weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.
Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to:
Freedom of Information Unit
123 St Stephen's Green
Such a request for internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. The office must complete the review within three weeks. Internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Office of the Information Commissioner. You will be notified of the outcome in writing.
2. Review by the Information Commissioner
Following completion of an internal review, you may seek independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. Also, if you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within three weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner.
Appeals in writing may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:
Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Phone: (01) 678 5222
Fax: (01) 661 0570
Charges may be applied by RCSI in line with section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 for the time spent searching for and retrieving records of non-personal information, and for any copying costs incurred in providing the requester with the copies of the records requested. It is unlikely that any charges will be applied in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.
If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, under the Act no fee is applicable. If the charge exceeds €101, full fees will be requested. The maximum charge for any one request most not exceed €500, however if the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700 the request can be refused, unless it is refined to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below this limit.
A fee of €30 (€10 for medical card holders) must accompany any application for internal review where the review concerns non-personal information.
Review by Information Commissioner
A standard fee of €50 must accompany applications to the Information Commissioner for review of decisions made by public bodies.
A reduced fee of €15 applies where a review is applied for by the holder of an Irish medical card or a dependent of a medical card holder.
For further information on how to apply for a review by the Information Commissioner please click here.
Search and copy charges
Charges/fees are currently set as follows in accordance with Statutory Instruments Nos.139 and 522 of 1998:
- €20 per hour (search and retrieval)
- €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
- €10 for a CD
- €6 for a radiograph (x-ray)
Non-personal records: Fees will be charged in respect of the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records. Fees will not apply in respect of the time spent by the RCSI in considering requests. A deposit will be payable where the total fee is likely to exceed €101. In these circumstances, the RCSI will, if requested, assist individuals to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.
Personal records: Fees in respect of the cost of copying the records requested will not apply unless a large number of records are involved.