Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 03 November, 1998

Written Answers. - Land Commission File.

340. Mr. Higgins (Mayo) asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will have arrangements made for a representative of Deputy Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) to examine the Land Commission file on the Ashton Estate, Woodlawn, Galway. [21817/98]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): The file on the estate in question is a large one and contains information both of a non-personal and of a personal nature relating to [1629] more than one individual. Under the Freedom of Information Act, which applies broadly to records containing personal information whenever created and to records containing non-personal information created after 21 April 1998, members of the public have the right to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right of privacy.

If the Deputy's request relates to personal information, he should forward to my Department the consent of the individual concerned, authorising my Department to allow him or his representative to examine that information. If the Deputy is interested in non-personal information, he should, as far as possible, identify the specific information required. I will then arrange that the records requested are made available for inspection provided they are not exempt from disclosure under the above Act or other statute.