I was extremely dismayed today to read this. From TheStory.ie:
“One of the most significant last-minute amendments to the FOI Bill 2013 is charging multiple times for what are known as multi-part or “multifaceted” requests.
What is a multi-faceted request?
This blog has used multifaceted requests in order to maximise the amount of information that can be obtained for the unjustifiable €15 charge. We have also demonstrated that technique to dozens of journalists in most of the national papers in Ireland and journalists working for RTE and TV3 over the past 3 years. Partly because of this activity, FOI officers began expressing concern at the number of new multi-faceted requests they were receiving.
Under the current regime this request cost €15 upfront – before you get to search and retrieval. Under the new costs regime it will cost upwards of €75, depending on how many divisions the request is split into. Let’s round it down to a 5 part request going to 4 divisions – €60. Or 4 times the current cost.
Did charging for multifaceted requests appear in the draft heads or the main Bill when published?
No. Nowhere. It didn’t come up in any of the much vaunted pre-legislative scrutiny (and as David Farrell points out, this makes a mockery of pre-legislative processes). It didn’t appear in the draft heads last year. It didn’t appear in the FOI Bill 2013 published earlier this year. It was put into a list of amendments at the very end of the legislative process.”
As a Northern Irish person, I may one day have to vote for or against uniting with the rest of Ireland and leaving the United Kingdom. It’s not a choice I want: I trust neither government (never mind my own) and would prefer Northern Ireland to be wholly independent (although I realise that may not be economically possible). Still, should my hand be forced, I don’t think I could bring myself to be a citizen of a Southern government, despite my upbringing in the Nationalist community. The absolute contempt with which the Irish government treats transparency and its citizens right to know makes me feel sick to my stomach. Read More