Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015

14.

Delayed publication

14. (1) Where a person who gives information to the Commission in an application under section 11 or a return under section 12 considers that making any information available for inspection could reasonably be expected to—

(a) have a serious adverse effect on—

(i) the financial interests of the State,

(ii) the national economy, or

(iii) business interests generally or the business interests of any description of persons,

or

(b) cause a material financial loss to the person to whom the information relates or prejudice seriously the competitive position of that person in the conduct of the person’s occupation, profession or business or the outcome of any contractual or other negotiations being conducted by that person,

the person may make an application to the Commission for the making of a determination under this section in relation to the information.

(2) The Commission shall consult with any relevant Minister of the Government or Ministers of the Government before deciding an application under subsection (1)(a).

(3) An application under subsection (1) shall be decided before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which it is received.

(4) If the Commission considers that making the information available for inspection could reasonably be expected to have the consequence specified in the application, the Commission may make a determination under this section in relation to the information if it appears to the Commission that the public interest would be better served by delaying making the information available for inspection than by making it available for inspection immediately.

(5) The determination may (as the Commission considers appropriate) make provision for—

(a) the exclusion from what is made available for inspection, or

(b) the making available for inspection only in summary form,

of anything which is the subject of the determination for such period, not exceeding 6 months, as is specified in the determination or until the determination is revoked (if that happens sooner).

(6) If an application under subsection (1) is rejected in whole or in part, the Commission shall notify the applicant of the reasons for rejecting it.

(7) The Commission shall cause a copy of a determination under this section to be provided to the applicant and any relevant Minister of the Government or Ministers of the Government consulted under subsection (2).

(8) The Commission may at any time review a determination made under this section and, if it appears to the Commission that the public interest would be better served by making the information available for inspection immediately than by delaying making it available for inspection, the Commission may decide to revoke the determination and on doing so the Commission shall inform—

(a) the applicant, and

(b) any relevant Minister of the Government or Ministers of the Government consulted under subsection (2),

that the determination has been revoked.

(9) Where the Commission—

(a) has excluded anything from what is available for inspection under subsection (5)(a), or

(b) has made anything available for inspection only in summary form under subsection (5)(b),

the Commission shall, when it subsequently becomes fully available for public inspection, publish on the Register an explanation of why it was so excluded or included only in summary form.

(10) Where the Commission has made anything available for inspection only in summary form under subsection (5)(b), the Commission shall publish on the Register a notice to that effect.

(11) Nothing in this section prevents the making of a determination under this section in relation to any information on more than one occasion.

(12) A document purporting to be a determination under this section and to be signed by the Commission shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be a determination made by the Commission and shall be received in any proceedings in any court without further proof.

(13) The Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 do not apply to a record relating to any information which is the subject of a determination made under this section and in force.

(14) The Commission shall not make available for publication any information which is the subject of a decision of the Commission under this section—

(a) if no appeal is brought under section 23 , until the end of the period specified in that section within which an appeal may be brought,

(b) if such appeal is brought but no further appeal is brought under section 24 , until the end of the period specified in that section within which such further appeal may be brought, and

(c) if an appeal under section 23 and further appeal under section 24 are brought, until the further appeal is finally determined,

but, if such appeal or further appeal is at any point withdrawn, then such information may be made available for publication once the appeal has been withdrawn.