Freedom of Information Act 2014
37. (1) Subject to this section, a head shall refuse to grant an FOI request if, in the opinion of the head, access to the record concerned would involve the disclosure of personal information (including personal information relating to a deceased individual).
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if—
(a) subject to subsection (3), the information concerned relates to the requester concerned,
(b) any individual to whom the information relates consents, in writing or such other form as may be determined, to its disclosure to the requester,
(c) information of the same kind as that contained in the record in respect of individuals generally, or a class of individuals that is, having regard to all the circumstances, of significant size, is available to the general public,
(d) the information was given to the FOI body concerned by the individual to whom it relates and the individual was informed on behalf of the body, before its being so given, that the information belongs to a class of information that would or might be made available to the general public, or
(e) disclosure of the information is necessary in order to avoid a serious and imminent danger to the life or health of an individual,
but, in a case falling within paragraph (a) or (b), the head concerned shall ensure that, before the FOI request concerned is granted, the identity of the requester or, as the case may be, the consent of the individual is established to the satisfaction of the head.
(3) Where an FOI request relates to—
(a) a record of a medical or psychiatric nature relating to the requester concerned, or
(b) a record kept for the purposes of, or obtained in the course of the carrying out of, social work in relation to the requester,
and, in the opinion of the head concerned, disclosure of the information concerned to the requester might be prejudicial to his or her physical or mental health, well-being or emotional condition, the head may decide to refuse to grant the request.
(4) Where, pursuant to subsection (3), a head refuses to grant an FOI request—
(a) there shall be included in the notice under section 13(1) in relation to the matter a statement to the effect that, if the requester requests the head to do so, the head will offer access to the record concerned, and keep it available for that purpose, in accordance with section 13(3) to such health professional having expertise in relation to the subject-matter of the record as the requester may specify, and
(b) if the requester so requests the head, he or she shall offer access to the record to such health professional as aforesaid, and keep it available for that purpose, in accordance with section 13(3).
(5) Where, as respects an FOI request the grant of which would, but for this subsection, fall to be refused under subsection (1), in the opinion of the head concerned, on balance—
(a) the public interest that the request should be granted outweighs the public interest that the right to privacy of the individual to whom the information relates should be upheld, or
(b) the grant of the request would benefit the individual aforesaid,
the head may, subject to section 38, grant the request.
(a) an FOI request relates to a record to which subsection (1) applies but to which subsection (2) and (5) do not apply or would not, if the record existed, apply, and
(b) in the opinion of the head concerned the disclosure of the existence or non- existence of the record would have the effect specified in subsection (1),
he or she shall refuse to grant the request and shall not disclose to the requester concerned whether or not the record exists.
(7) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of subsection (2), a head shall, subject to paragraphs (b) to (e) of that subse ction and subsections (5) and (8), refuse to grant an FOI request if, in the opinion of the head, access to the record concerned would, in addition to involving the disclosure of personal information relating to the requester, also involve the disclosure of personal information relating to an individual or individuals other than the requester.
(8) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Minister may provide by regulations for the grant of an FOI request where—
(a) the individual to whom the record concerned relates belongs to a class specified in the regulations and the requester concerned is the parent or guardian of the individual, or
(b) the individual to whom the record concerned relates is dead and the requester concerned is a member of a class specified in the regulations.
(9) In this section “health professional” means a medical practitioner, within the meaning of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, a registered dentist, within the meaning of the Dentists Act 1985, or a member of any other class of health worker or social worker standing prescribed, after consultation with such (if any) other Ministers of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate.
Power pursuant to subs. (8) exercised (17.02.2017) by Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Sections 9(6), 10(6) and 37(8)) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 53 of 2017).
Previous affecting provision: power pursuant to section exercised (10.11.2016) by Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Sections 9(6), 10(6) and 37(8)) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 558 of 2016); revoked (17.02.2017) by Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Sections 9(6), 10(6) and 37(8)) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 53 of 2017), reg. 3(1), subject to transitional provision in para. (2).