Mental Health Commission

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Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information, or FOI, refers to rights provided to every person under the Freedom of Information Act 2014. This Act provides:

  • a legal right for each person to access information held by public bodies;
  • a legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.
  • a legal right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself.

Q: How does FOI work?

Q: What records can be requested?

Q: How do I make a Freedom of Information Request to the Mental Health Commission?

Q: How much will it cost?

Q: How soon can a person making a request for records expect a reply?

Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?

Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?

 

Q: How does FOI work?

The Act requires public bodies to respond to requests from the public for information they hold. In most cases, public bodies must give their decision on a request within 4 weeks of receiving it.

Public bodies must also produce a publication scheme under Section 8. This publication scheme must set out information about their organisation, including the services they offer to the public, their decision-making process for major policy proposals, their financial information, their procurement activities and policies, an FOI disclosure log, an outline of information held by the body that is sought regularly and the procedures to get access to information. For more information, please see our Publications Scheme.

Q: What records can be requested?

Under the Act, the following records may be accessible: 

  • all records relating to personal information held by the Commission irrespective of when created;
  • all other records created from commencement date i.e. 21 April, 1998; and
  • any other records necessary to the understanding of a current record.

Q: How do I make a Freedom of Information Request to the Mental Health Commission?

You should send a request, in writing, to:

Mr Brian Gillespie
Freedom of Information Officer
Mental Health Commission
Waterloo Exchange
Waterloo Road
Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 6362400
Fax: (01) 6362440

In order to assist you in making a request, an FOI Application Form is available for you to complete and return.

Q: How much will it cost?

A standard processing fee must accompany all applications with the exception of those applications requesting Personal Information. Fee List in Respect of Non-Personal Information

  • Information request (free)
  • Internal review fee €30 (€10 reduced fee for medical card holders)
  • Appeal to the Information Commissioner €50 (€15 for medical card holders)
  • Application for amendment containing incorrect information (free)
  • Application for reasons for a decision affecting an individual (free)

The Mental Health Commission cannot commence the formal process until the relevant fee (if a fee is chargeable) is paid. Other charges may be applied for the time spent finding records and for any photocopying costs incurred by the Commission in providing you with the material requested if such fees exceed €101. Details of these will be notified to you in writing. Requests may be refused if the estimated cost of search, retrieval and copying exceeds €700, but you may be permitted to refine your request as needed.

Q: How soon can a person making a request for records expect a reply?

Under the Act, a request for records must be acknowledged within two weeks and, in most cases, responded to within four weeks.

There are some limited situations under the FOI Act which could mean that the making of a decision could take longer than four weeks. If this occurs, you will be notified in writing.

If you have not received a reply within four weeks, you are automatically entitled to consider that the Commission has refused to grant your request and you may immediately appeal to the Commission for a review on the matter.

Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on my FOI request?

You may request an internal review of any decision issued by the Commission by writing to:

Ms. Rosemary Smyth
Interim Chief Executive
Mental Health Commission
Waterloo Exchange
Waterloo Road
Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 6362400
Fax: (01) 6362440
e-mail: foi@mhcirl.ie

seeking an internal review of the matter. A fee of €30 may apply for such an appeal.

You should make your appeal within four weeks from the date of response (although late appeals may be permitted in certain circumstances). The appeal will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of staff of the Commission and a decision will be communicated to you within three weeks.

Q: What if I am not satisfied with the decision on internal review?

You may appeal the decision within six months by writing to the Information Commissioner. If an appeal is made by you, the Information Commissioner will fully investigate and consider the matter and issue a fresh decision. All appeals should be addressed to:

The Information Commissioner
The Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2. 
Tel: (01) 6395689
Lo-call 1890 223030
Fax: (01) 6395676
e-mail: info@oic.ie

A fee of €50 may be applicable to such an application.

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Contact Details

Waterloo Exchange, Waterloo Road, Dublin 4

Ph: 353(1) 636 2400

Fax: 353(1) 636 2440

Eircode: D04 E5W7

GPS coordinates: 53°19'58.6"N 6°14'36.9"W