An FOI request can submitted using the University's FOI Application form or by writing to the University's FOI Unit by letter/email (details below). There is no application fee for making an FOI request. If you have any difficulty in preparing your request, please request assistance by contacting FOI Unit.
If you choose to make your request in writing by letter/email please be sure to include the following:
- State clearly that the request for records is being made under the Freedom of Information Act;
- Provide your postal address, a phone number and your e-mail address so we can contact you if necessary to clarify the details of your request;
- Indicate if the information is required in a particular form i.e. photocopy, by email, on a CD etc;
- If your request is for records with personal information, please forward a copy of your personal ID (eg student/staff ID card etc).
Include as much detail as possible to enable University staff to identify, search and retrieve (if held) the record(s) sought.
- Give details of the personal information relating to you, which you believe is incorrect, incomplete or misleading
- Specify the amendments which you wish to have made
- Include appropriate evidence to support your application
Give details of the matter for which you seek reasons for the decision (eg recruitment competition, application for a programme of study etc.)
You will receive an acknowledgement of your request no later than two weeks from the date on which it is received by the University. In this acknowledgement, you will be informed of the expected decision date and you will usually be told the name of the person dealing with your request. If the request is of a very detailed nature, search, retrieval and copying charges may apply and if this is the case, you will be given details in writing (please see the Fees section below for further information).
The University is normally obliged to respond to the request within four weeks. A longer period may be applicable in certain circumstances; for example, where consultation with third parties is required. In all cases, decisions on applications are made by nominated officers of the University known internally as FOI Decision Makers. If your request is granted, you will receive a letter stating your request has been granted along with the relevant record(s). If your request is refused (in full or in part), you will receive a letter stating that your request has been refused and you will be given reasons for the refusal. You will also be informed of your rights of review and appeal.
The Act sets out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may be damaging or inappropriate. Where the University of Limerick 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 the subject of appeal. Details of the review and appeals mechanisms are provided below.
You may seek an internal review of the initial decision, which will be carried out by University staff at a higher level than the person by whom the initial decision was made if:
- You are dissatisfied with the initial response received, i.e. refusal of information, form of access, fees, etc.
- 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.
Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to the FOI Unit. A request for an internal review must be submitted within four weeks of the initial decision. If the request involves non-personal records, an internal review application fee of €30 applies (€10 for medical card holders).
Review by the Information Commissioner
Following completion of an internal review, you may seek independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. Also, if you have not received a reply to your application for internal review within three weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal under the FOI Act and you may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner.
Appeals in writing may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:
Office of the Information Commissioner
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Phone: (01) 6395689
Web site: www.oic.ie/
There is no application fee for making an FOI request regardless of whether the request is for personal or non-personal records.
For requests for personal records, no application fee applies in the event that an internal review or review by the Information Commissioner is sought.
In the event that a requester wishes to have a decision reviewed for a request involving non-personal records, the following application fees apply:
- Internal Review - €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
- Review by the Information Commissioner - €50 (€15 for medical card holders)
Section 27 of the FOI Act 2014 provides for Search, Retieval and Copying fees.
Fees apply in respect of the time spent searching and retrieving records that are released to you as a result of an FOI request and in respect of the copying of any records released.
The following charges apply in relation to requests for records made under the FOI Act:
- If your request is for personal records, no fees will be charged for copying the records requested unless a large number of records are involved.
- The rates of these fees are as follows:
- €20.00 per hour - search and retrieval
- €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
- Search, Retrieval and copying fees will apply where the preparation time for a request exceeds 5 hours, that is, there is a minimum threshold of €100 below ehich, no such fees will be charged.
- A deposit may be sought.
Where search, retrieval and copying fees are deemed to apply, University will, if requested, assist the requester to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.
Charges may be Waived in the Following Circumstances:
- Where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount of the fee
- Where the information would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance
- In the case of personal information, where such charges would not be reasonable having regard to the means of the requester.
The University's FOI Unit is available to provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act (e.g. accepting oral requests from requesters who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability, enabling the requester to inspect of have records explained to him or her). For further information, please contact the FOI Unit.