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Freedom of Information


The Freedom of Information Act (Amendment), 2014  establishes the following statutory rights: 


  • a legal right for each person to access records held by public bodies and government departments 
  • a legal right for each person to have official records relating to himself/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading 
  • a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting himself/herself.



1. Right of Access (subject to exemptions)
2. Apply for Information under Freedom of Information Act
3. Right to Appeal the initial decision
4. Review by the Information Commissioner
5. Fees and Requests
6. Waiver of Fees
7. Freedom of Information Publication Scheme




The Act gives right of access (subject to exemptions) to: 


  • All records created after commencement of this Act i.e. 21st October 1998 
  • Such records created before that date as may be required to understand records created after commencement of the Act
  • Personal records regardless of when created
  • In the case of staff members, personnel records created from a date 3 years before commencement of the Act
  • Reasons for decisions made by Donegal County Council directly affecting yourself
  • Seek correction of personal information relating to you, held by Donegal County Council where it is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading.



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How do I apply for information under Freedom of Information Act?


  • Your request should be in writing and should indicate that the information is sought under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • It is preferable that you make a request using the standard FOI Request Form.
  • Applications can be submitted by fax or email to the number/email address listed below).  ‌
  • You are entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available.
  • When you are seeking information which is personal, you will be required to supply the appropriate identification as required by the decision maker.
  • If you wish to receive the information in any particular format you should indicate this in your request.  Please give as much detail as possible to enable us to identify the records to which you require access.
  • If you have difficulty in identifying the precise records which you require, we will be happy to assist you in preparing your request.
  • We must issue an acknowledgement of your request within two weeks of our receiving it.
  • We must make a decision on your request within four weeks of our receiving it unless the request relates to such number of records that compliance within the specified time is not reasonably possible, in which case a time extension not exceeding a further four weeks may be allowed.
  • You must be notified of the period of the time extension required and the reasons therefore.


Applications for information under this Act should be addressed to:


Eileen Harkin, 
Freedom of Information Liasion Officer, 
Donegal County Council, 
The County House, 
Co. Donegal 

Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 074 9153900
Fax: 074 9142071



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Do I have a right to appeal the initial decision in respect of my request?

The Freedom of Information Act sets out appeal mechanisms in the event of a refusal of a request, or in relation to deferral of access, charges, form of access etc. Details of these appeal mechanisms are as follows:

Internal Review


You may seek internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by an official at a higher level if:


  • You are dissatisfied with the initial response received i.e. refusal of information, form of access, charges etc., or 
  • You have not received a reply within four weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to Internal Review.
  • Donegal County Council must complete the review within three weeks.
  • Internal review must normally be completed before an appeal may be made to the Information Commissioner. 


Requests for Internal Review should be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision by writing to:



Eileen Harkin, 
Freedom of Information Liasion Officer, 
Donegal County Council, 
The County House, 
Co. Donegal 

Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 074 9153900
Fax: 074 9142071



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Review by the Information Commissioner:

You may seek independent review by the Information Commissioner if:

  • Following completion of the Internal Review procedure, you are dissatisfied with the decision; or, 
  • You have not received a reply to your request for Internal review within 3 weeks of your application. This is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Commissioner.


Appeals in writing may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:

Office of the Information Commissioner, 
6 Earlsfort Terrace, 
Dublin 2, 
D02 W773
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01 6785222
Fax: 01 6610570



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Is there a fee involved in making a request?

No. Fees for Freedom of Information requests were abolished under the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2014. This came into force in October 2014. There is still a fee for an Internal Review or an Appeal to the Information Commissioner.  A reduced fee will apply if the person making the request is a medical card holder or a dependant of a medical card holder.


Type of Request/Application

Standard Fee*

Reduced Fee* & **

Request for a record under section 7



Initial Request
Internal Appeal
Appeal to InformationCommissioner



Request under section 7 for personal information

No charge

No charge

Application under section 17 for amendment of a record containing incorrect, incomplete or misleading personal information

No charge

No charge

Application under section 18 for the reasons for a decision affecting the individual

No charge

No charge


* Fee will not apply where a person appeals a decision to charge a fee or deposit, or a fee or deposit of a particular amount under section 27 of the FOI Act
** Reduced fee will apply in respect of third parties who appeal a decision of a public body to release their information on public interest grounds.


The following charges will also apply if requested under Freedom of Information request:-


Fire Service Charges for records


  • Fire Certificate Search - €50.00 
  • Fire Certificate Retrieve and View - €100.00



Planning Service charges for records


  • File Retrieval - €30.00  per each file retrieval.  Note: no fee payable for retrieval of planning application files received less than 7 years ago.  These files are available for viewing via -
  • Copy of Planning Permission final grant – Fee of €15.00 per copy.
  • Copy of Drawings – min charge of €6.00 for each A)/A1 drawing & €1.50 for each A3/A4 drawing with a further .25cent charge per page for copying documents.
  • Planning Search - Map Register Search/card index search - €35.00 per site.
  • Enforcement Register Search - €35.00 per site.
  • Full Planning Search - €100.00 per site.


Is there a fee for the time spent finding records and for the cost of photocopying?

Yes, fees may also be charged for the time spent finding records and for any photocopying costs incurred by them in providing you with the material requested, as follows:


  • For personal records, fees in respect of the cost of copying the records only will apply
  • For other (non-personal) information, fees may be charged in respect of the time spent in efficiently locating and copying records, based on a standard hourly rate of €20 per hour.  No charge will be applied for the first 5 hours of Search and Retrieval.   
  • No charges will apply in respect of time spent by the local authority in considering your request
  • A deposit (20% of the overall cost) may be payable by you and in these circumstances, you may request assistance from our staff to amend your request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.



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Waiver of Fees

Fees may be waived in the following circumstances:


  • Where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount payable; or, 
  • Where the information would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance; or, 
  • In the case of personal information, where such charges would not be reasonable, having regard to the means of the requester.



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