19 Aug 2022

Sinn Féin bill to address shortcomings of a FOI regime in crisis

Sinn Féin bill to address shortcomings of a FOI regime in crisis

Longford Westmeath Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke

Sinn Féin TDs Mairéad Farrell and Sorca Clarke will introduce their Freedom of Information (amendment) bill (2021) tomorrow.

This bill will address many of the current shortcomings of the FOI regime, some of which have been brought into sharp focus by the recent events of Zapponegate.

Deputy Farrell said: “I am delighted to be introducing this bill which I’ve worked on over the last year with my colleague Sorca Clarke TD. Since being elected, I have been making the case that our FOI regime was in crisis.

"This was off the back of empirical research and close consultation with many of the state’s top investigative journalists and transparency campaigners.

"There were those in government who thought these fears were unfounded but the events of Zapponegate illustrated quite clearly what I and many others have been pointing out. There is a lack of accountability for those failing in their obligations under the act.

"Some public bodies which are only partially included under the scope of FOI need to be brought under more fully, while other bodies in the receipt of public money are exempted entirely.

"There is information that was at one time available through FOI which can no longer be accessed.

"My bill will address each of these issues and more. I would ask that Minister McGrath will support this bill. He has launched a review of the act but this is a waste of time and resources. The problems are well documented and my bill offers a solution to these."

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