Freedom of Information/AIE

Freedom of Information legislation is applicable to the Veterinary Council of Ireland. The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (“the Act”) was enacted on 14 October 2014 and repeals the 1997 and 2003 Acts.

The Act provides the following statutory rights:

• A legal right for each person to access information held by a body to which Freedom of Information legislation applies;

• A legal right for each person to have official information relating to himself/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and

• A legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting himself/herself.

The Act asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals. Older legislation continues to apply to any Freedom of Information request made before the new legislation came into effect. It also applies to any subsequent review or appeal.

The Veterinary Council endeavours to publish relevant information relating to its activities in as timely a manner as possible. In accordance with the Act, the Veterinary Council will provide a publication scheme setting out the information held by the Veterinary Council and its publication policy (this replaces the Section 15 and 16 Freedom of Information manuals). This will be made available in due course.

All Freedom of Information requests to the Veterinary Council should be addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer as follows:

Ms Aideen Neylon

Freedom of Information Officer

Veterinary Council of Ireland

53 Lansdowne Road

Ballsbridge

Dublin 4 DN04 NY39

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +353 (0)1 6684402

Applications for Information

• Your application should be in writing.

• Your application should indicate that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

• You should indicate if information is required in a particular form, e.g. photocopy, computer disk, etc.

• You should give as much detail as possible to enable the Veterinary Council to identify the record/s you are seeking. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise records we will be happy to assist you in preparing your request.

• You may be required to prove your identity, especially when requesting personal information. You may, therefore, be asked to produce your passport, driving licence or other form of identification.

• You should include a daytime telephone number so that you can be contacted if it is necessary to clarify details of your request.

• You should pay the prescribed fee (if applicable) by cheque or bank draft made payable to the Veterinary Council.

• The Veterinary Council is obliged to respond to your request within four weeks of the date of receiving your request.  

Rights of Review and Appeal

The Act set out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or third parties. Where the Veterinary Council invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be the subject of appeal.

Internal Review

You may seek an internal review within the Veterinary Council if:

• You are dissatisfied with the initial response.

• You have not received a reply within four weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to internal review.

Requests for internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. The Veterinary Council must complete the review within three weeks and you will be notified in writing of the outcome. Internal reviews must normally be completed before an appeal is made to the Information Commissioner.

Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to:

The Registrar/CEO

Veterinary Council of Ireland

53 Lansdowne Road

Ballsbridge

Dublin 4 DN04 NY39

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +353 (0)1 6684402

Review by the Information Commissioner

If you are dissatisfied with the decision and review in relation to a Freedom of Information request to the Veterinary Council, an application for review may be made to the Information Commissioner:

Office of the Information Commissioner

18 Lower Leeson Street

Dublin 2

Tel: +353 (0)1 639 5689

Locall: 1890 223 030

Fax: +353 (0)1 639 5674

www.oic.gov.ie

Fees for Information Requests and Reviews

Section 27 of the Act sets out applicable fees and charges that may apply:

Type of request or application Fee

Reduced Fee

Information Request Free Free
Internal Review €30 €10
Review by the Information Commissioner €50 €15

No fees apply where the request involves access to your personal records.

Search, Retrieval and Copying Costs

Charges may be applied for the time spent finding and retrieving records and for any copying costs incurred in providing you with the material requested. It is very unlikely that any charges will be applied in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.

If the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, no charge is applied. If the charge exceeds €100, full fees apply. You cannot be charged more than €500. A deposit may be payable.

If the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is estimated at more than €700 the Act stipulates that a request may be refused, unless you refine your request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below this limit.

Type of Charge Charge
Search and Retrieval of Records €20 per hour
Photocopying 4 cent per sheet
CD-ROM containing copy of documents €10

For your information please see the Veterinary Council of Ireland's Freedom of Information Model Publication Scheme Document which gives details of the Veterinary Council’s operations, structure and types of records held.

Additional information and assistance is available at http://foi.gov.ie.

 

Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)

European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007, S.I. No. 662 of 2011 and S.I 615 of 2014) (hereafter referred to as the AIE Regulations), give legal rights to those seeking to access information on the environment from public bodies. 

Under these regulations, information relating to the environment held by, or for, a public body must be made available on request, subject to certain exceptions.  The AIE regulations also oblige public bodies to be proactive in disseminating environmental information to the public. 

The AIE Regulations provide a definition of environmental information; outline the manner in which requests for information may be submitted to public authorities and the manner in which public bodies are required to deal with requests e.g. timeframes for response.  The regulations also provide for a formal appeals procedure in the event that a person is unhappy with a decision on their request.