Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 16 October, 1997

Written Answers - Freedom of Information Act.

55. Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Education and Science the implications of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997, for his Department and for the various educational institutions under the aegis of his Department; and the steps, if any, he is taking to ensure that both his Department and those institutions are in a position to comply with the Act which is currently coming into force. [16677/97]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The Freedom of Information Act, 1997, asserts the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy.

The Act establishes three new statutory rights: a legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies; a legal right for each person to have official information relating to himherself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.

The Act commences in April 1998 and, at date of commencement, will apply to my Department and to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment — among other public bodies which are named in the Act.

Arrangements are in hand in my Department and in the NCCA which are designed to ensure that both organisations are in a position to comply with the terms of the Act at date of commencement.