Irish Commissioner publishes controversial FOI report

The Irish Information Commissioner has decided to issue the controversial Report to Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service (published December 2005).

In a press release, the Commissioner's office stated:

"The Information Commissioner, Emily O'Reilly, has decided to publish a report on a particular Freedom of Information matter relating to non-disclosure of records. The report was drawn up by way of assistance to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service in its task, arising from section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997, of reviewing non-disclosure" or secrecy provisions in legislation. She presented the report to the Joint Committee in December 2005. Announcing her decision to publish the report, the Commissioner explained that the report has come into the public domain on an unofficial basis and that it has been the subject of media and political interest over the past week.

The Commissioner commented that "some of the coverage of the report has been rather confused." The Commissioner has also had many requests, from journalists and others, for a copy of the report. Her decision to publish has been taken in these circumstances, and with a particular view to avoiding further unnecessary confusion about the contents of the report.

The Commissioner went on to explain that it had been her intention to publish the report on her Office website once the Joint Committee had had an opportunity to consider it. The Commissioner understands that the Joint Committee intends to deal with this matter over the coming months. She added that "As my report has yet to be considered by the Joint Committee, I do not intend to comment on any aspect of it at this point." The report is available on the website of the Information Commissioner at"

Source: Irish Commissioner's press release (20 January 2006)