Freedom of Information
An tAonad um Shaoráil Faisnéis
The section is responsible for assisting the general public and staff exercise their rights under the FOI Act which was extended to the HEA in October 2001.
For further details on FOI, please contact the HEA Offices at: Brooklawn House, Dublin 4
The new Freedom of Information Act 2014 was signed into law on 14 October 2014. This replaces the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003.
How to make a request
Requests for information can be made in writing, email or by fax to the office address below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom of Information Officer, Higher Education Authority, Brooklawn House, Dublin 4
If you require any assistance or have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 01 2317100 or by email email@example.com
Please note that the FOI Act 2014 is intended to allow access to records held by the HEA, not for general queries. In your request please identify where possible the records you are seeking access to. The HEA will assist in ensuring the request is valid under FOI. In some cases where general information is sought we may propose to deal with your request outside of FOI.
Access to Information within the Authority
The Act requires FOI bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it. Also, FOI bodies are required to publish information in line with the model publication scheme, and are encouraged to publish as much information as possible outside of FOI.
Under the FOI Act, anyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available. Each person has a right to:
- access to records held by the Authority;
- correction of personal information relating to oneself held by the Authority where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading;
- access to reasons for decisions made by the Authority directly affecting oneself.
If you require any assistance or have any questions please contact us at 01 2317100
Among the key exemptions are records relating to:
- Government meetings
- law enforcement and security
- confidential and commercially sensitive information
- personal information (other than information relating to the person making the request).
- The €15 application fee has been abolished;
- There is a minimum threshold of €101 below which no search, retrieval and copying fees can be charged. Once the charge reaches €101, full fees apply;
- There is a cap on the amount of search, retrieval and copying fees that can be charged of €500;
- There is a further upper limit on estimated search, retrieval and copying fees at €700 above which an FOI body can refuse to process a request, unless the requester is prepared to refine the request to bring the search, retrieval and copying fees below the limit;
- The fee for internal review under Section 21 is now €30 (€10 for medical card holders and their dependants)
- The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner under Section 22 is now €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants)
Please be as detailed and as specific as possible when requesting information as this will enable the staff of the Authority to speedily reply to your request. If you require a reply in a particular format please mention this in your application. The staff of the FOI unit will be glad to assist you in preparing your request.
Right of Review and Appeal
The FOI Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties. Where the Authority invokes these provisions to withhold information, the decision may be appealed. Decisions in relation to deferral of access, charges, forms of access, etc. may also be appealed. Details of the appeals mechanisms are set out in the following paragraphs.
Applicants may seek an internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by an official at a higher level, if:
(a) the applicant is dissatisfied with the initial response received, e.g. refusal of information, form of access, charges, etc., or
(b) the applicant has not received a reply within four weeks of the initial application – this is deemed to be a refusal of the request and allows the applicant to proceed to internal review.
Requests for an internal review should be submitted in writing to the FOI Unit.
Higher Education Authority
3 Shelbourne Buildings
Lo Call: 1890 200 637
Fax: 01 2317172
A request for an internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. The Authority must complete the review within three weeks. An internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Information Commissioner.
HEA FOI Publication Scheme
Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish a scheme concerning the publication of information by the body in conformity with a model publication scheme made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. 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 Minister is of the view that FOI bodies should 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 Act. The scheme commits FOI bodies to make information available as part of their normal business activities in accordance with the scheme.
This section provides details of non-personal requests which have been responded to by the HEA under the Freedom of Information Act.