The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI Act) was enacted on 14 October 2014. This Act provides that every person has the following legal rights:
- the right to access records held by FOI bodies (as defined in the FOI Act applied);
- the right to have personal information held on them by an FOI body corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by FOI bodies that affect them.
The FOI Act applied to the SBCI from 14 April 2015 enabling members of the public to seek access to the following records held by the SBCI (or held by the NTMA on the SBCI’s behalf):
- records relating to personal information held on them no matter when the record was created; and
- other records created on or after 21 April 2008
The FOI Act can be accessed on the Oireachtas website.
How does FOI work?
A member of the public can request access to records under the FOI Act by making a request to an FOI body and stating that he/she is seeking the records pursuant to the FOI Act. The FOI Act requires FOI bodies to respond to such requests from the public. In most cases, FOI bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it.
How can I make an FOI request to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)?
You should send a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to:
Freedom of Information Unit,
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
North Wall Quay
Phone: 01 238 5050
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgYour request should include the following:
A statement that the request is being made pursuant to the FOI Act;
As much information as possible about the records being sought; and
Details of the format in which you wish to receive any records released (e.g. photocopies).
Can I get access to any information that I seek?
Not all of the records of the SBCI are covered by the FOI Act. Some of the SBCI’s records have been expressly excluded from the FOI Act. Paragraph (c) of Part 1 of the Schedule of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Exempted Public Bodies) Order 2015 (SI No. 144 of 2015) provides for the exemption of:(c) the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in the performance of its functions conferred under the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Act 2014 (No. 22 of 2014) insofar as it relates to records concerning the following:
I. providers or potential providers of finance (including loans) to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland or to any project, fund or other entity managed or promoted by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland;
II. companies, firms, funds or any other entities to which the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland has provided finance (including loans) or could potentially provide finance (including loans) and customers or potential customers of such companies, firms, funds, or other entities;
III. market counterparties or potential market counterparties of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.
Records that you can seek having regard to the lists above include:
all records relating to personal information held;
all other records created on or before the effective date of the FOI Act (21 April 2008); and
any records necessary to the understanding of a current record even if created prior to the 21 April 2008.
However, in order to allow FOI bodies to properly conduct their business, it will sometimes be necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These exemptions are set out in the FOI Act. Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
law enforcement and security,
confidential and commercially sensitive information,
personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
Requests for access to records may also be refused if they are deemed to be unclear or of such a volume as to substantially or unreasonably interfere with or disrupt the SBCI’s work.
Is there a charge for getting information under the FOI Act?
There is no charge for submitting a request. However, in respect of non-personal requests charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any reproduction costs incurred by the SBCI in providing you with the material requested (search, retrieval and copying charges). The list of fees is set out in further detail below. There are also some rules that apply in relation to the charging of fees:
Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is less than €101, no fee is charged.
Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €500 but less than €700, a maximum charge of €500 applies.
Where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700, the body can refuse to process the request.
Where fees apply, a deposit must be paid before the search and retrieval process is begun. An estimate of the search, retrieval and photocopying charges relating to your request and the required deposit will be notified to you in writing. Payment should be made by way of Electronic Funds Transfer. Please contact the FOI Unit for bank details. A list of relevant fees is set out below:
List of Fees
There is no charge for submitting a request
Search and Retrieval – €20 per hour (for requests that exceed the €100 minimum in terms of search, retrieval and copying), subject to the ceilings mentioned above.
€0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
Internal review fee €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
1. There is no charge if your request relates to records containing only personal information relating to you, unless there is a significant number of records.
2. If you are claiming a reduced application fee, the request must be accompanied by the Medical Card registration number, issuing Health Board name and your consent to the verification of these details with that Health Board.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?
If you are not happy with the decision that you receive you may ask for the decision to be reviewed. This will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of staff of the SBCI and a decision will be communicated to you within 3 weeks. You may seek a review of any decision issued by the SBCI, by a request in writing (by post, hand delivery or email) to the Freedom of Information Unit, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, Treasury Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, D01 A9T8. (email@example.com).
You should state that you are seeking an Internal Review of the matter. A fee of €30 (€10 for medical card holders) may apply for such an appeal. There is no fee for internal review applications concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.
You should make your request for an Internal Review within 4 weeks from the date of our response to you setting out our decision in relation to your initial request for records (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances). When seeking an Internal Review you need to ensure that you refer to your initial request and decision and that you quote the reference number. You also need to include the grounds on which you are seeking this review and any additional information which you feel is relevant.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?
If you are not happy with the outcome of the Internal Review, you may make an appeal it to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) . If you wish to make an appeal to the OIC, you must do so within six months of the date of our Internal Review decision. If you make an appeal the OIC, they will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to:
Office of the Information Commissioner,
6 Earlsfort Terrace,
Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689
Locall: 1890 22 30 30
Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674
A fee of €50 (€15 for medical card holders) may apply for such an application. There is no fee for appeals to the Office of the Information Commissioner concerning only personal information relating to oneself or in relation to a decision to impose a fee or deposit.
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes. If you require help in formulating your request, the staff in the FOI Unit will be happy to assist you.
Do I need to make a FOI request to get information from the SBCI?
No. The SBCI provides a great deal of information on its various websites. This will continue. FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records not made routinely available.Where can I get more information on FOI?
Further information on FOI is available from:
The Freedom of Information Unit,
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform,
Upper Merrion Street,
Tel: +353 (1) 604 5388
Fax: +353 (1) 639 6281
The Information Commissioner,
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (1) 639 5689
Locall: 1890 253 238
Fax: +353 (1) 639 5674