Frequently Asked Questions  

Below are some frequently asked questions that our Freedom of Information unit receive.

  1. How Can I Contact the Central Bank Regarding FOI?
  2. What Types of Records Does the Central Bank Hold?
  3. How Does FOI Work?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Receive a Response to an FOI Request?
  5. Do I Have a Right to Access All Records Held by the Central Bank?
  6. What Types of Records Can be Requested Under FOI?
  7. Do Any Fees Apply to FOI Requests?
  8. How Can I Pay FOI Fees to the Central Bank?
  9. Can I Appeal the Decision Made on my Request?
  10. How Are Personal Information Requests Managed by the Central Bank?
  11. Can I Get Assistance in Making an FOI Request?
  12. Do I Have to Submit an FOI Request to Access Information Held by the Central Bank?
  13. What FOI Requests Have Been Answered by the Central Bank Previously?
  14. Where Can I Find the Central Bank’s Mandatory Publication Scheme?
  15. Where Can I Find out More Information About FOI?

 

1. How Can I Contact the Central Bank Regarding FOI?

You can contact the FOI Unit in the Central Bank in the following ways:

By email: foi@centralbank.ie

By post:The Freedom of Information Unit, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 559, Dame Street, Dublin 2, D02 P656

By phone: +353 (0)1 224 6096

2. What Types of Records Does the Central Bank Hold?

The Central Bank mainly holds records relating to what we do, such as correspondence, briefings, minutes etc. The Central Bank frequently publish reports, letters, statistics and bulletins relating to our functions which can be accessed on the publications page of our website. We also frequently publish records which we feel may be of interest to the public. Please see Classes of Records held by the Central Bank for further information.

3. How Does FOI Work?

The FOI Act requires public bodies to respond to requests for information received from the public. In most cases, the public body must provide the requestor with a response to their request within 20 working days (excluding public holidays) of receiving the request.

4. How Long Does it Take to Receive a Response to an FOI Request?

Normally, a response to your request will be issued in no more than 20 working days (excluding public holidays) after receipt of your request. An acknowledgment letter will be issued to you within 10 working days (excluding public holidays) of your request being received. This letter will clearly explain the next steps in the processing of your request. Please note; in certain circumstances, the timelines for responding to your request may differ, or the timelines for issuing a response may need to be extended. A member of the FOI Unit in the Central Bank will contact you if these circumstances arise.

5. Do I Have a Right to Access All Records Held by the Central Bank?

Under FOI, you have the right to request access to:

  • Records holding your own personal information (regardless of when the record was created)
  • Other records held by the Central Bank created since 21 April 2008
  • Records created before 21 April 2008 if their release is necessary in order to understand another record created after that date

However, please note that certain records held by the Central Bank are specifically exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. These records include;

  • Records held by the Central Bank which cannot be disclosed by law i.e. are prohibited from release by the Treaty of Rome, the ESCB Statute or Supervisory Directives
  • Records containing confidential personal information relating to the financial or business affairs of any individual
  • Confidential, financial, commercial or regulatory information of a regulated entity received by the Central Bank in the performance of its statutory functions
  • Records which will be held on the Central Credit Register

Additionally, in order to allow public bodies, such as the Central Bank, to carry out their core functions effectively, and to protect the rights of third parties, it will sometimes be necessary to withhold further types of records. Whether an exemption applies to a record will depend, in some cases, on whether the public interest is better served by releasing or withholding the record. These circumstances are outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

There are a number of key exemptions which are relevant to records held by the Central Bank, including;

  • records relating to deliberative processes of public bodies
  • confidential information
  • commercially sensitive information
  • personal information, where it relates to a person other than the requestor

FOI requests may also be refused for a number of administrative reasons; for example, where the request is too voluminous or unclear, or where processing the request would cause a substantial and unreasonable interference with the work of the Central Bank. If this is the case for your request, the FOI Unit will contact you to assist you in clarifying or refining your request.

Where records are withheld, an explanation outlining why those records are exempt under FOI will be provided to you.

6. What Types of Records Can be Requested Under FOI?

The definition of a record under the FOI Act includes paper documents, records held electronically e.g. by email, and audio visual material.

7. Do Any Fees Apply to FOI Requests?

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 there is no fee for making a personal or non-personal Freedom of Information request. However, a fee may be payable for the time spent finding records related to the request, and for costs incurred in providing you with the records you have requested, for example photocopying. In respect of personal records, it is unlikely that any fees will be charged (except where your request relates to a large number of records).

The current FOI fees regime was established by Ministerial order. Search and retrieval and copying fees can be summarised as follows:

  • Search and Retrieval fee €20 per hour
  • Photocopying 4c per page
  • CD-ROM €10
  • No fee will be charged where search and retrieval and copying fees are less than €100

Where fees are more than €100 the full fee must be charged (In other words, if search and retrieval and copying fees are €120, the full amount of €120 is payable by the requestor).

Fees are charged up to a maximum of €500 (In other words, if search and retrieval and copying fees are €560, the maximum amount payable by the requestor is €500).

An exception to the €500 limit is where search and retrieval and copying fees are more than €700 (in this case, public bodies, such as the Central Bank, may refuse the request, unless the requestor refines their request to ensure search and retrieval and copying charges are less than €700. In some circumstances, the public body may choose to process the request, and fees in the full amount will be payable by the requestor).

Please note; under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, these fees are mandatory and must be charged. These fees may be amended by statutory instrument. The FOI Unit will inform you if any search and retrieval and copying fees are applicable to your FOI request. A deposit, based on the estimated time required to search for and retrieve the records relevant to your request, must be paid by you before your request can be progressed further. The balance payable, based on the actual time required to search, retrieve and copy all records released to you in response to your request must be received by the Central Bank before any records can be released to you. If a balance is owed to you, this amount will be refunded by the Central Bank.

Up-front fees apply to appeals of FOI decisions, as follows:

  • Internal Review fee: €30, or €10 for medical card holders and their dependents
  • Appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner: €50, or €15 for medical card holders and their dependents.

Please note; if you are claiming a reduced fee, your request must be accompanied by a copy of your current, valid medical card. Your medical card registration number and issuing Health Board name must be clearly visible on the copy. Please note that by providing this identification, you are consenting to the verification of these details with the relevant Health Board.

8. How Can I Pay FOI Fees to the Central Bank?

You can pay your FOI fees by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to the following account:

Account Number: 887 88060

Sort Code: 93 33 84

IBAN: IE31AIBK93338488788060

BIC: AIBKIE2D

Please refer to your unique FOI reference code when making your payment. This reference code will be quoted on all correspondence relating to the request.

Please also notify the FOI Unit in the Central Bank once this payment has been made

  • by email: foi@centralbank.ie or
  • by phone: +353 (0) 1 224 6096.

This will ensure your payment is readily identifiable, and will aid the efficient processing of your request. It is our policy to accept payment for FOI search and retrieval and copying charges by EFT only.

9. Can I Appeal the Decision Made on my Request?

If you are not satisfied with the response which the Central Bank issue to your request, you may appeal this decision by submitting a request for an internal review. This request should be made within four weeks of receiving the decision on the FOI request and must be submitted in writing to the Central Bank:

  • by email: foi@centralbank.ie, or
  • by post: The Freedom of Information Unit, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 559, Dame Street, Dublin 2, D02 P656.

Internal review involves a complete reassessment of your request by a more senior member of staff within the Central Bank. The internal reviewer will affirm, annul or vary the original decision. An upfront fee of €30, or €10 for medical card holders and their dependents, will generally apply. If the decision which you are appealing relates to your own personal information only, or if you are appealing the decision to impose a fee or deposit, no fee will apply. Ordinarily, you will receive a response to your request for internal review within 3 weeks.

You may appeal the decision at internal review within six months of receipt of that decision to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). You may do so by submitting a request in writing to:

Office of the Information Commissioner,18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Phone: +353 (0) 1 6395689 or 1890 223030

E-mail: info@oic.ie

The OIC will fully investigate the matter, and issue a fresh decision on your request.

An upfront fee of €50, or €15 for medical card holders and their dependents, generally applies and must be paid directly to the OIC. There is no fee for an application for appeals to the OIC relating to your own personal information only, or a decision to impose a fee or deposit.

Please note; if you are claiming a reduced fee, your request must be accompanied by a copy of your current, valid medical card. Your medical card registration number and issuing Health Board name must be clearly visible on the copy. Please note that by providing this identification, you are consenting to the verification of these details with the relevant Health Board.

10. How are Personal Information Requests Managed by the Central Bank?

When a request for personal information is received by the FOI Unit in the Central Bank, evidence as to the identity of the requestor will be required. Identification must be provided in the form of valid photographic identification such as passport, driver’s licence, or Government issued identification card e.g. medical card. Requests will not be processed until sufficient identification has been received. All identification documents and personal information will be stored securely, and in line with the Data Protection Acts.

11. Can I get Assistance in Making an FOI Request?

Yes, the FOI Unit in the Central Bank is available to assist you. You can contact the FOI Unit in the Central Bank:

  • By email: foi@centralbank.ie
  • By post: The Freedom of Information Unit, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 559, Dame Street, Dublin 2, D02 P656
  • By phone: +353 (0) 1 224 6096.

12. Do I Have to Submit an FOI Request to Access Information Held by the Central Bank?

As part of the Central Bank’s commitment to being as open and transparent as possible, we routinely publish a variety of information on our website. The records which you wish to access may already be publicly available; therefore before making an FOI request, please explore the information which we routinely publish in our leaflets, publications and on our website. In the interests of transparency, the Central Bank also publishes a wide range of information in the Publication Scheme area of our website. You may also make a request for information through a number of other means, contact details for doing so can be found on the contact us section of our website. FOI provides an additional source of information by facilitating access to records which are not routinely available.

13. What FOI Requests Have Been Answered by the Central Bank previously?

Our disclosure log outlines previous non-personal FOI requests received by the Central Bank in Quarter 1, 2016. 

14. Where Can I Find the Central Bank’s Mandatory Publication Scheme?

Read our publication scheme on our website.

A hardcopy of our basic publication scheme is also available to view at our premises on Dame Street, Dublin 2 on receipt of 24 hours notice. To request access to this, please contact us.

15. Where Can I find out More Information About FOI?

Our Freedom of Information Unit

You can contact the FOI Unit in the Central Bank in the following ways:

  • Email: foi@centralbank.ie
  • Post: The Freedom of Information Unit, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 559, Dame Street, Dublin 2, D02 P656
  • Phone: +353 (0) 1 224 6096

Comprehensive information on Freedom of Information is available at www.foi.gov.ie.

The text of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 itself is available on www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Information is also available from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at:

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Central Policy Unit, Floor 3, 7-9 Merrion Row, Dublin 2 Website: www.per.gov.ie

Email: cpu@per.gov.ie

Tel: +353 (0) 1 631 8258

Office of the Information Commissioner

The Office of the Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Website: www.oic.gov.ie

Email: info@oic.gov.ie

Tel: +353 (0) 1 639 5689 or 1890 253 238