Freedom of Information Act 2014

6.

Public bodies

6. (1) Subject to this section, each of the following shall be a public body for the purposes of this Act:

(a) a Department of State;

(b) an entity established by or under any enactment (other than the Companies Acts);

(c) any other entity established (other than under the Companies Acts) or appointed by the Government or a Minister of the Government, including an entity established (other than under the Companies Acts) by a Minister of the Government under any scheme;

(d) a company (within the meaning of the Companies Acts) a majority of the shares in which are held by or on behalf of a Minister of the Government;

(e) a subsidiary (within the meaning of the Companies Acts) of a company to which paragraph (d) relates;

(f) an entity (other than a subsidiary to which paragraph (e) relates) that is directly or indirectly controlled by an entity to which paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) relates;

(g) a higher education institution in receipt of public funding;

(h) notwithstanding the repeal of the Act of 1997 by section 5 , and subject to this Act, any entity that was a public body (including bodies or elements of bodies prescribed as such) within the meaning of the Act of 1997 on the enactment of this Act.

(2) (a) An entity specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 (“the parent entity”) shall, subject to the provisions of that Part, be a public body for the purposes of this Act.

(b) A subsidiary of a parent entity, or a body directly or indirectly controlled by a parent entity, shall be a public body for the purposes of this Act but only to the extent that the functions of the subsidiary or other body coincide with those functions of the parent entity that are subject to this Act.

(3) An entity specified in Part 2 of Schedule 1 , a subsidiary of such an entity or a body directly or indirectly controlled by such an entity shall not be a public body for the purposes of this Act.

(4) A reference in subsection (1)(a) to a Department of State shall be construed as including a reference to a body, organisation or group specified in relation to that Department of State in the Schedule to the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924.

(5) (a) The Minister may, with the consent of such other (if any) Minister of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government, and having consulted such committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas as he or she considers appropriate, having had regard to the matters specified in subsection (6), by order declare that subsection (1) shall not apply to any particular public body to the extent specified in the order.

(b) The Minister may after consultation with such other Minister of the Government (if any) as appears to him or her to be appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government, having consulted such committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas as he or she considers appropriate and having regard to the matters specified in subsection (6), by order amend or revoke an order under this subsection.

(6) The matters referred to in subsections (5)(a) and (b) are the need—

(a) to ensure, in the public interest, openness regarding—

(i) the activities of public bodies and their use of public funds,

(ii) information relating to the performance of such bodies’ functions, and

(iii) information on services funded by the State,

and in particular (as respects those matters) to ensure accountability and the promotion of the principle of transparency in government and public affairs,

(b) to ensure that public bodies are subject to this Act to the maximum extent feasible, and

(c) to protect the public interest by restricting access to certain records.

(7) Where a dispute arises between the Commissioner and any entity as to whether subsection (1) applies or as to the conditions arising by virtue of that subsection, the dispute shall be submitted to the Minister whose determination shall be binding on the Commissioner and the entity.

(8) The power of amendment or revocation under subsection (5) is without prejudice to the application of section 22(3) of the Interpretation Act 2005 to other provisions of this Act enabling the making of orders.

(9) (a) The Minister may, after consultation with the Commissioner and such committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas as he or she considers appropriate, and with the consent of such other Minister (if any) as appears to the Minister to have responsibility for that entity, and having regard to the matters referred to in subsection (6), by order declare an entity or a subsidiary of, or a body directly or indirectly controlled by, such an entity—

(i) specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to be a public body on the basis of different elements of that entity’s functions from those specified in that Part, or to be exempted from the provisions of this Act, or

(ii) specified in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to be a public body.

(b) An order made under paragraph (a) may—

(i) specify the inclusion or exclusion of elements of—

(I) the entity concerned, or

(II) a subsidiary of, or a body directly or indirectly controlled by, the entity concerned,

and

(ii) specify a date, which shall not be a date later than 6 months from the date of such order, on which the entity, subsidiary, body, or element of a body, concerned shall become a public body.

(10) A regulated financial service provider within the meaning of section 2 of the Central Bank Act 1942 shall not be deemed to be a public body by reason of the exercise of supervisory, regulatory or resolution powers over that provider by the Central Bank of Ireland or the Minister for Finance.

(11) Where an order is proposed to be made under this section, a draft of the order shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

(12) Where, after the passing of this Act, a company (within the meaning of the Companies Acts), or other body, becomes a public body within the meaning of section 6(1) (other than by virtue of an order made under subsection (5) (b) or (9)(a)), the obligations under this Act shall apply to that company or body, on and from a date that is not later than 6 months after it becomes a public body under this Act other than where the Minister makes an order under subsection (5) (a) declaring that subsection (1) shall not apply, in whole or in part, to the company or body concerned.

Annotations

Modifications (not altering text):

C4

Application of subs. (12) restricted (15.12.2021) by Land Development Agency Act 2021 (26/2021), s. 79(1), S.I. No. 712 of 2021.

Application of Freedom of Information Act 2014 to Agency

79. (1) Notwithstanding section 6(12) of the Act of 2014 the obligations under that Act shall apply to the Agency on and from the dissolution day and to a subsidiary DAC on and from the date of its establishment in accordance with Part 4 .

(2) Notwithstanding section 2(1) of the Act of 2014, the “effective date” in the case of the Agency and a subsidiary DAC shall, for the purposes of that Act, be 13 March 2019.

(3) The Agency and a subsidiary DAC shall, notwithstanding the dissolution of the dissolved body, comply with any obligations of the dissolved body under the Act of 2014.

...

Editorial Notes:

E9

Power pursuant to subs. (5) exercised (13.04.2015) by Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Effective Date for Certain Bodies) Order 2015 (S.I. No. 148 of 2015).

E10

Power pursuant to subs. (5) exercised (13.04.2015) by Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Exempted Public Bodies) Order 2015 (S.I. No. 144 of 2015).