Irish Commissioner wants Irish Police to be subject to FOI laws

The Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly told an Oireachtas Committee that more public bodies, including the Garda Siochana, must be included under the Freedom of Information Act. The police forces in England and Scotland are already subject to similar legislation.

Ms O'Reilly acknowledged that the Government had announced in October 2005 that an extra 109 public bodies would come under the remit of the Act, but she said more should be included. She told the Finance & Public Service Committee: “I’m not aware of any pressing reason for the continued omission from FOI of bodies such as VECs, the Central Applications Office, the State Examinations Commission, the Adoption Board, An Garda Siochana, the Central Bank, Financial Services Authority and the State Claims Agency and bodies dealing with asylum applications.”

Committee member Joan Burton said: “Nothing less than the restoration of Freedom of Information Act is required. We have effectively shut it down. The political, philosophical point of view has sought quite successfully to emasculate the concept of freedom of information.”

Commissioner: Garda must be subject to Freedom of Information laws (Irish Examiner, 16 March 2006)