You cannot look for records from us that are held by anyone other than the Office of the Ombudsman.

If you want to access records held by a service provider, you must apply to that body. For example, if you want records about your tax affairs, you must apply to the Revenue Commissioners. You cannot look for such records from us.

The Office of the Ombudsman is a partially excluded body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 (as provided in Schedule 1, section 6, Part 1 of that Act). This means that records held by the Office of the Ombudsman that relate to specific complaints (as opposed to records concerning the general administration of the ombudsman’s functions) are not required by law to be made available to the public. You may request records concerning the general administration of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Freedom of Information Act 2014

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI Act 2014) can be found by clicking on the following link: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2014/a3014.pdf

You may apply to the Office of the Ombudsman for certain information held by it, but the FOI Act 2014 limits the records that may be accessed.

How to make a request

Write to us stating that you are making a request under the FOI Act 2014. You should address your request to the FOI officer, Office of the Ombudsman, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, D02 HE97, or email info@ombudsman.ie.

How you can help us handle your request

You should provide as much information as possible to help us find it. If you want it in a particular format (e.g. a photocopy, transcript or computer disk) or if you want to examine it, you should say this clearly in your request.

If you are looking for an amendment to a record, your request should identify the relevant record and the amendment required, and provide evidence that the amendment is necessary.

How we will help you make your request

The FOI Act says that the public body should help a person who is looking for a record under the FOI Act. It specifically says that assistance should be provided where the requester has a disability.

In addition, this office may contact you to clarify your request.

Do I have to pay a fee?

In some circumstances, fees are charged under the FOI Act 2014. There is no fee for making an initial FOI request. The fee for an internal review is €30 (or €10 for medical card holders). If there is a fee, you can pay by cheque, bank draft or postal order.

There is no fee for making a request for access to your personal records.

Charges of €20 per hour may be applied for the time spent finding and retrieving records. You may also be charged for any copying costs incurred in providing you with the material requested. However:

  • if the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, no charge is applied
  • if the charge exceeds €100, full fees apply up to €500
  • if the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying is more than €700, this office can refuse to process your request unless you refine your request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below this limit

If the estimated charge is more than €100, a deposit of at least 20% will be sought.

Photocopying is charged at €0.04 per sheet.

How long will it take?

Once we receive an FOI request, we have up to four weeks to make a decision. Our decision will be issued to you in writing and will specify whether your request is being granted, part-granted or refused. It will also give you the reason(s) behind our decision.

What if I am unhappy with the decision?

If you are unhappy with the decision or if, after four weeks, you have not received a decision (this is called a refusal to your FOI request by non-reply), you can apply for an internal review.

An internal review is an appeals mechanism within our office. It will be carried out by an officer who is more senior than the individual who made the decision on your original request.

To request an internal review, you must write to us referring to the decision received (if one was made) and say that you are making an internal review appeal. You cannot raise any further issues in your internal review appeal. The sole purpose of the review is for another officer to reconsider the decision on your original request. This office has three weeks to make a decision on your request for an internal review.

The Information Commissioner cannot review an FOI decision made by the Ombudsman relating to records held by this office. If you are not happy with the internal review decision or if after three weeks you have not received a decision (this is deemed a refusal by non-reply), you can appeal the decision on a point of law to the High Court. An appeal must generally be made not later than four weeks after notice of the decision was given to you. However, where the decision of this office is to grant access to some records (including parts of records) but not all records requested, section 24(4)(b)(i) provides that the requester shall have eight weeks after the date of the notification of the decision to initiate an appeal to the High Court.