LYIT Freedom of Information Q&A

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 gives you the right to access records held by this Institute and all FOI bodies. The Institute must give you an explanation if you are not given what you asked for and the decision must normally be made within 4 weeks.

What are my rights?

Under Freedom of Information legislation, every person has the following legal rights:

  • the right to access official records held by public bodies prescribed under the Act
  • the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading
  • the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.

In general, members of the public are entitled to obtain official information from the Institute provided it does not conflict with the public interest and the right of privacy of individuals.
Requests for information must be submitted in writing to the Freedom of Information Office.

What can I ask for? 

You can ask for any of the following:

  • Any records relating to you personally, whenever created
  • All other records created after the effective date.

How can LYIT help you with FOI?

LYIT has two publications that should help you in understanding the organisational structure of the Institute and the types of information we hold.   These publications are available from the Freedom of Information office. 

Section 15
This reference manual is designed to facilitate access to official information held by the Institute, by illustrating its structures, functions, details of services provided (and how they may be availed of), information on the types of records held, and how to make a request to the Institute under the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003. 

Section 16
This reference manual contains details of the "rules, procedures, practices, guidelines and interpretations used by the Institute and an index of any precedents kept by the body, for the purposes of decisions, determinations or recommendations, under or for the purposes of any enactment or scheme, administered by the body with respect to rights, privileges, benefits, obligations, penalties, or other sanctions to which members of the public are or may be entitled..."

How to make an FOI request

An FOI request must be made in writing; it can be made by letter or by email to the FOI Officer (details below).

A request must state the following:

  1. That you seek this information under the Freedom of Information Act 2014
  2. Contain sufficient particulars in relation to the information concerned to enable the record to be identified. Please include your contact details, ie, name, address, contact (eg, telephone number and/or email address) as this information is required for subsequent correspondence. 
  3. Specify the manner or form in which you wish to receive your response, ie, by email.

Stages of an FOI request

Stage 1:  FOI Officer
Your request should be addressed to the FOI Officer at LYIT.  If you are unsure as to how to request information the FOI Officer can advise/help you with your request (see also  “How to make an FOI request”).  If you have a disability, the FOI Officer will facilitate the exercise by you of your rights under the FOI Act [Section 6(2)(b)].  The FOI Officer must acknowledge your request in writing within 2 weeks of receipt of it [Section 7(2)].

Stage 2:  Decision Maker
The request is passed from the FOI Officer to the Decision Maker.   The Decision Maker’s role is to assess the documents requested and he/she must issue a reply letter to the requester within 4 weeks of the receipt of the request [Section 8(1)] or otherwise the request will be deemed refused.

Stage 3:  Internal Review
A requester is entitled to seek an Internal Review under Section 14(7) of the Act, if she/he is not satisfied with the outcome of their initial request.  He/she must submit their request for an internal review within 4 weeks of the date of the reply letter.  This request must also be sent to the FOI Officer and the FOI Officer will pass it on to the Internal Reviewer.  The Internal Reviewer must be of a ranking grade higher than that of the Decision Maker [Section 14(3)].  They will assess the documents requested themselves and consult with the Decision Maker as to the decision taken in the first instance and must issue a reply letter to the requester within 3 weeks of the receipt of the request or otherwise the request will be deemed refused.

Stage 4:  Information Commissioner
If a requester is still not satisfied with the outcome of their request after the Internal Review stage, they are entitled to appeal to the Information Commissioner, Emily O’Reilly, who is also the Ombudsman.  The Office of the Information Commissioner can be contacted on Lo-Call: 1890 223030, (f) 01 6395674 or (e) info@oic.ie  Website: http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/

Stage 5:  High Court
If a requester is not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner, they can appeal to the High Court on a point of law.  You can read some case studies of requests that have made it to the High Court on the Information Commissioner's website at: http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/DecisionsoftheCommissioner/ 

Stage 6:  Supreme Court
A right of appeal to the Supreme Court is created from a decision of the High Court under section 42.  This right applies to any party affected by a review undertaken by the High Court.

FOI Publications

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis outside of FOI, having regard to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability as set out in Sections 8(5) and 11(3) of the FOI Act 2014. This allows for the publication or giving of records outside of FOI provided that such publication or giving of access is not prohibited by law. The scheme commits FOI bodies to make information available as part of their normal business activities in accordance with this scheme.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology is currently preparing a Model Publication Scheme under the guidelines recently approved by Mr Brendan Howlin, TD, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under Section 8 (7) of the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The Model Publication Scheme must be adopted by all FOI bodies and shall set out the required information outlined in Sections A - F below:

SECTION A:      ABOUT LYIT 
SECTION B:      FUNCTIONS & SERVICES PROVIDED *
SECTION C:      DECISION MAKING PROCEDURES *
SECTION D:      FINANCIAL INFORMATION *
SECTION E:      PROCUREMENT *
SECTION F:      LETTERKENNY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY DISCLOSURE LOG FROM 2015 - 2017

* Please note that this is currently under construction. 

What information is available?

Any official information held by public bodies can be sought under the Act.

Can anyone ask for reasons for decisions?

A person who is materially affected by a decision may request reasons for that decision.  This is a different type of request than the regular request for records.  It is a Section 18 request (application form available from the FOI Office).


Helen McGrandles
Freedom of Information Office
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Port Road
Letterkenny
Co Donegal
F92 FC93
Ireland

T: +353 (0)74 918 6044 
E: foi@lyit.ie