Madrid/Dublin, 16 July 2014 – Access Info Europe has welcomed the Irish government’s decision to withdraw upfront fees for access to information (also known as FOI) requests. The decision comes after extensive campaigning by Irish and international civil society organisations, and by not charging upfront fees would bring Ireland into line with international standards.

The specialist transparency organisation expressed caution however, over other charges which still may apply and which do not follow standards on access to information. For example, charges for searching and retrieving information for more than 5 hours remain, as well as charges to make internal reviews and appeals to the Information Commissioner.

Requesters should not be required to pay for any part of the processing of an access to documents request. The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents makes clear that the only fees which may be charged are for copying and delivery costs,” states Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.

Appeals to the Information Commissioner should also be free of charge, and requesters should not have to pay search and retrieval fees as in some cases, the reason for taking such a long time can be due to bad record keeping or poor organisation of information held by the State,” added Darbishire.

Ireland hosted the Regional European OGP Meeting in May earlier this year, where the issue of fee charges were also brought up.

For more information please contact:

Helen Darbishire | Executive Director, Access Info Europe +34 667 685 319