Mental Health Commission

Our Values: Dignity and Respect, Human Rights, Confidentiality, Quality, Accountable and Transparent, Person-Directed

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Freedom of Information

What are Freedom of Information requests?

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 gives you the right to access records held by the Mental Health Commission (MHC) and other FOI bodies. Such requests may be personal or non-personal (corporate) records.

Personal requests

As an FOI body, the MHC welcomes personal requests. You may ask, for example, for the following types of records:

  • any records held by the MHC relating to you personally irrespective of when they were created
  • all other records created after 21 April 1998 (which is the commencement date of the FOI legislation in Ireland)
  • any additional information which may be required to assist in the understanding of a current record

You have the right to have personal records amended or deleted where the information is found to be incorrect or misleading. In addition, you have the right to seek reasons for decisions that affect him/her.

Non-personal requests

As an FOI body, the MHC welcomes non-personal requests. These generally focus on corporate operations. Where non-personal requests are made, the timeframe for acknowledgement and delivery of requests is the same as personal requests. As the access is not into personal information, identification is not required.

Exemptions in Freedom of Information Act 2014

There are exemptions provided for in the Act. This means that there are specific circumstances when the requested information will not be released, e.g. to protect confidentiality, etc. If any of these exemptions are applied to withhold information, the reasons will be clearly explained to you.

Timeframe

A decision on your request will normally be made within four weeks. This is where a week is defined as five working days, excluding weekends and public holidays.

Acknowledgement of request

The MHC will acknowledge receipt of your request in writing within 10 working days. At this time, you will be advised as to when you may expect to receive a decision on your request.

How to make an FOI request

To make a request, please write to the FOI Officer, Mental Health Commission, Waterloo Exchange, Waterloo Road, Dublin 4 or email DPFOI@mhcirl.ie. In your correspondence, you should:

    • state that you are making your request under the FOI Act
    • provide as much information as possible about the records you require
    • specify how you would like to receive the records – that is, would you like to receive the records by post or by email?

Alternatively, you may use the FOI Application Form 

Identification (personal requests only)

Before you are given access to personal information relating to yourself, you will be asked to provide proof of identity. These are as follows;

    • a copy of your identification bearing your full name and photograph (for example, passport, driver’s licence, etc.)
    • proof of address to which the materials will be sent (for example, the top of a utility bill bearing both your name and address)

This is requested to ensure that information is released to the appropriate person and postal/email address.

Fees for FOI requests

Fees may be charged for search, retrieval and copying of the records requested.  This process involves two stages:

  1. Locating the broad set of records in which those requested might be found.
  2. Identifying, extracting and assembling the particular records sought for examination.

Fees for the estimated cost of searching, retrieval and copying of the records will only be charged with respect to records being released. €20 is charged for each hour spent searching for, and retrieving, records and €0.04 is charged per sheet for a photocopy of the records released.

Estimating the cost for search, retrieval and copying fees

Costs FOI

In cases where search and retrieval fees apply, the MHC is obliged to charge a deposit of at least 20% of the estimated cost to the requester.

Right to appeal

You may seek an internal review of any decision issued by the MHC. To do so, please write to:

Mr. Simon Murtagh
Chief Operations Officer
Mental Health Commission
Waterloo Exchange
Waterloo Road
Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 6362400
E-mail: simon.murtagh@mhcirl.ie

Please note that a fee of up to €30 may apply for such an appeal (€10 for medical card holders).

You must make your appeal within 20 working days 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 at the MHC and a decision will be communicated to you within 15 working days.

The internal review process must be completed before you can submit an appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Appeals to the Information Commissioner

You may appeal the decision within 6 months by writing to the Information Commissioner. If you make an appeal, the Information Commissioner will fully investigate the matter and issue a fresh decision. A request to appeal should be addressed to:


Office of the Information Commission
6 Earlsfort Terrace
Saint Kevin's
Dublin 2
D02 W773
Tel: (01) 6395689
Lo-call 1890 223030
Fax: (01) 6395676
e-mail: info@oic.ie

Please note that 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