Dept of Finance wants €6k to release past advice under FoI

Apologies if this has been posted already. (I couldn’t find a reference to it over the weekend.)

Enda Kenny said on Morning Ireland on Friday that he had asked for advice given over the last number of years to finance ministers and the Taoiseach on spending projections. The Dept of Finance said he could have it - but it would cost €6,000.

rte.ie/news/morningireland/player.html?20090724,2584925,2585016,real,209

The excuse - which is commonly rolled out, against the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act - is that providing the information would be time-consuming so a ‘search and retrieval’ fee is imposed. This is legal but often applied beyond reason.

It shouldn’t be particularly hard to search for and retrieve this type of info - unless Kenny has asked for advice dating back to 1921. Presumably the advice would show that either (a) the Dept of Finance warned politicians about the state of the public finances or (b) the Dept of Finance didn’t notice how vulnerable the State was to economic shocks (predictable and unpredictable).

It’s quite possible that the Dept has deliberately interpreted the request in the broadest conceivable terms (“all advice to the minister” meaning ever memo, email and phone message provided by officials and submitted by interest groups") so as to avoid or delay releasing the advice.

Maybe Kenny’s office will pay the fee but most people, including journalists, would drop such a request rather than challenge it. An contested FoI decision is reviewed internally first - which takes time - and then you can appeal to the Info Commissioner (for a fee), but they are not always as well resourced as they should be.

p.s. I’ve no connections to FG or any other political group - but I think the Opposition are entitled to an answer to this kind of question.

The Leader of the Opposition should be given this information at no charge provided he or she is not acting vexatiously.

Also, from the Sunday Tribune piece on John O’Donoghue’s expenses…

All information should available for free unless explicitly restricted for good reason. The only information that should need to be FOI’d is the restricted stuff and then the task should be if there’s good reason for it still to be restricted rather than this “Ah shure we don’t know where put that like” bollocks.

It would seem that Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well and working for the DoF…

Information held hostage. Criminal thugs demand ransom for it’s release.

And who created the FOI policy? Politicians!!!

Get yer facts straight…

The nuance is lost on you so…

It seems to have been lost on you first!

Sorry I didn’t realise I’ve logged onto theplaygroundpin.com… my apologies, wrong site :unamused:

Eh yeah, who started with the wildly inaccurate nonsensical sloganeering, eh? :laughing:

No Bertie did the prick and yer man with the knife and the rest of of table of thugs.