STATEMENT BY KEVIN HUMPHREYS

Labour Party TD, Dublin South East, Thursday 10th January 2013

HUMPHREYS WELCOMES RADICAL REFORM TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAWS

 

Today the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform will be discussing with Minister Brendan Howlin the General Scheme of the Freedom of Information Bill. Transparency and openness are key to ensuring the mistakes of the past are not repeated. This Bill is another small building block towards restoring confidence in Ireland and our public institutions.

This is a key commitment in the Programme for Government. Labour has long advocated for increased and extended public access to information on what happens in our Government, public service and agencies that carry out their work on behalf of Irish citizens.

This new law will extend the law to the administrative side of the Garda Síochána and all statutory bodies and agencies. These changes will undo the damage done by Fianna Fail in 2003 that reversed parts of the groundbreaking law put in place by the Rainbow Government.

It is also intended that public financial bodies including NAMA, the NTMA, NPRF and NDFA will all be brought within the jurisdiction of the Bill, as well as the Central Bank subject to EU laws and regulations related to the ECB.

Other bodies that are expected to be included are the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and Refugee Applications Tribunal, VECs and non-public bodies benefiting from significant public funding.

ENDS

Notes:

Briefing Note on the changes may be found here:

http://per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/FOI-briefing-Note.pdf

The press release of the Minister can be found here:

http://per.gov.ie/2012/07/25/government-committed-to-greater-openness-transparency-and-accountability-howlin/

The General Scheme of the Bill is available here (170 page pdf):

http://per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Draft-consolidated-heads-9-Aug-12-2.pdf