People Before Profit TD submits amendments to FOI bill insisting all public bodies, semi-state companies and tribunals should be subject to FOI

Fees for FOI will undermine balanced reporting and represent another Labour Party betrayal

Richard Boyd Barrett TD and People Before Profit-ULA Finance spokesperson will be speaking at the Oireachtas Public Expenditure committee this evening and tomorrow on a number of amendments he has submitted to the Freedom of Information Bill.

rbb dailThe amendments submitted would see the insertion and inclusion of a definition of ‘a public authority which would bring semi-state Companies such as Coillte, Bord na Mona, Irish Water, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and others under the remit of the bill as well as an amendment that would see the inclusion of Tribunals of Inquiry.

A further amendment submitted would see no fees being charged for accessing information.

In its manifesto in 2011, the Labour party said, ‘Labour will restore the Freedom of Information Act so that it is as comprehensive as was originally intended. The fee structure for Freedom of Information requests will be reformed so that cost does not discourage organisations and individuals from seeking information’.

The provision for fees in the bill is the complete opposite of this promise and represents a further betrayal.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, “The so-called reforms contained in this bill would see less people seeking information which is an example of yet another trampling of democracy”

It makes no sense that bodies such as Coillte would not be open to public scrutiny. The public have a right to access information on all public bodies, public authorities and tribunals.

This is the type of cloak and dagger politics that the FG Labour Government claim is a thing of the past but is alive and well as this bill shows with”.