Tuesday, 10 April 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
132. Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Finance when it is intended to cover Iarnród Éireann by the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997; and if he will make a statement on the reason this public enterprise has been exempted to date. [10608/01]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Since it commenced in April 1998 for Government departments and closely related bodies, Freedom of Information Act has been extended on a phased basis to include the health boards, local authorities, voluntary hospitals and a range of voluntary bodies, RTE, TG4 and a number of other bodies in the social services, environment, cultural, regulatory and enterprise areas. During the course of this Government's term of office, the number of bodies within the FOI net has increased from 67 to over 280. Later this year, the Act will be further extended to include the higher education sector.
The Minister of State at my Department, Deputy Cullen, is currently finalising plans for a further significant extension of the Freedom of Information Act commencing in 2002. Departments have been asked to identify appropriate bodies for inclusion in that round of extensions and I would hope to be reporting to Government shortly in this regard. The extension of the Act to Iarnród Éireann will be examined in this context.
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