How to Request Information
Requests for access to records under this Act should be addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer, Meath County Council, County Hall, Railway Street, Navan, Co Meath.
Phone: (046) 9097011 Fax: (046) 9097001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your request must be in writing (a request sent by Fax or Email to the number/address indicated above is acceptable)
- It should indicate that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act
- Requests must identify the records that are the subject of the request. Requests should contain sufficient information to enable the Council identify the records in question. This minimises the possibilities of delays
- Requests must specify the format in which access to records is sought, for example, photocopy, viewing of file, computer disks etc (see section on format of records below)
- The appropriate fee must be included (see section on charges below)
If you have difficulty in identifying the precise records which you require, we will be happy to assist you in preparing your request.
Format of records held by Meath County Council
Meath County Council holds a wide variety of records in various formats.
- Computerised Data - held on magnetic disk or tape.
- Computer Printout.
- Paper records. This includes all types of forms, reports, maps, drawings etc.
- Microfilm - Some data is archived on microfilm, particularly where large volumes of paper cause storage problems.
Reasons for Decisions of the Council
Section 18 of the FOI Act confers on every person a legal right to reasons for decisions of the Council on any matter particularly affecting that person. It also confers on every person a legal right to findings on any material issues of fact made for the purpose of the decision i.e. the matters of fact and law used in reaching the decision made.
This section bestows on the public a generalised entitlement to access information from public bodies regarding those activities of the public body which impact on them personally. To meet the foregoing criteria and thereby obtain reasons for acts of the Council a member of the public would need to show that such an act had a particular impact upon him or her compared to other persons in similar circumstances as themselves.
The same requirements apply when seeking reasons for acts of the Council as apply when seeking access to records i.e. applications must be in writing, refer to the FOI Act and state the act of the Council for which reasons are sought. However, no charge applies to an application under Section 18.
The time limits for processing requests for reasons is the same as those which apply to the processing of requests for access to records, i.e. 4 weeks, with the same appeal procedures – internal appeal to a higher authority in the Council with the final appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Charges that apply under the Freedom of Information Act
There are basically two types of charges that apply under the Freedom of Information Act:
Fees that accompany a request for a record: A fee of €15 must accompany a request for records. A reduced fee of €10 applies in relation to such a request if you are covered by a medical card. Neither fee applies if the request is for personal information relating to oneself.
Fees/deposits in relation to the cost of search and retrieval and copying of records released: Requesters can also be charged for the time spent finding records that are to be given to them, and for any photocopying costs incurred by the public body in providing material to the requester. Such costs are very unlikely to arise in the case of personal information. Requesters cannot be charged for the time spent on deciding whether or not to grant their request.
Notification of Decisions on Requests for Access to Records
The Freedom of Information Act requires the Council to:
- Issue an acknowledgement of your request within two weeks of receiving it.
- Make a decision on a request within four weeks of receiving it.
- If the request relates to such number of records that compliance within the specified time is not reasonably possible, a time extension not exceeding a further four weeks may be allowed. You must be notified of the period of the time extension required and the reasons therefore.