Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 29 June, 1999
Written Answers. - Freedom of Information Act.
Ms M. McGennis Ms M. McGennis
55. Ms M. McGennis asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the companies or businesses from which his Department has received most frequent requests under the Freedom of Information Act, 1997, other than requests by businesses for personal information; the general nature of the information sought; and the costs levied on the companies or businesses for the processing of these requests. [16413/99]
Mr. Andrews Mr. Andrews
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): Since the coming into effect of the Freedom of Information Act on 21 April 1998, the Department of Foreign Affairs has received a total of 36 requests from companies or businesses seeking records or information of a non-personal nature. Most of these requests have come from the media, with the largest single number of requests being submitted by The Sunday Times, which has made 16 to date. Other media companies which  have made more than one FOI request, number of requests made shown in brackets, include RTE, five, Phoenix magazine, three, The Sunday Tribune, two and The Sunday Business Post.
The requests made by The Sunday Times have covered a wide range of topics, extending from current policy issues to matters relating to the administration of the Department, including official travel and expenses. The Sunday Times has also made requests under the FOI Act for copies of consultancy reports commissioned by the Department as well as details of other FOI requests made to the Department. A similar range of preoccupations has been evident in the requests made by other media companies with most requests focusing on current policy issues, administration and costs of the Department or else details of FOI requests made to the Department. In no case so far has the Department levied charges for the provision of information and/or records to members of the media.
A number of FOI requests have also been received from consultancy firms. Two requests have been made by the firm Policy Watch while a further two have been received from the firm Amárach. In general, the requests made by these two firms have sought information on the provision of various services, such as telecommunications and computer software, to the Department. A charge of £49.86 was imposed and paid for processing one of the requests submitted by Policy Watch, fees were not levied in the other three cases.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Freedom of Information Act.