Case number: 080269
This decision comprises a decision following my review under section 34 of the FOI Act of the decision of the College to refuse to grant the applicant access to the records sought by him by means of an FOI request he addressed to the College, dated 13 October, 2005.
This review and its resultant decision are a consequence of this matter having been remitted by the High Court, my Office's first decision on this matter (in case number 050364) having been appealed on a point of law to that Court by the applicant, and having been made the subject of a consent order, in effect, to correct a procedural omission in the original review.
My review is concerned with whether the College's refusal to grant the request is justified to my satisfaction under the FOI Acts.
In that regard, Section 34(12)(b) of the FOI Act states that
" a decision to refuse to grant a request under section 7 shall be presumed not to have been justified unless the head concerned shows to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the decision was justified."
Thus, the Act places on the College the onus of satisfying me that its decision was justified, and I have been cognisant of this in conducting my review.
It is also now well established that a review under section 34 of the FOI Act is in the nature of a de novo review. As Mr Justice Quirke stated in his judgment in The National Maternity Hospital v The Information Commissioner  3 I.R. 643, [for example]:
"The Commissioner was entitled to consider all of the material before her on the date on which she made her decision and to make her decision having regard to the circumstances which existed on [the date of her decision]".
I have considered the facts and circumstances surrounding the request the subject of this review. I have considered the applicant's request and internal review application to the College, his application for review to my Office, his submissions on the original case number 050364, those forwarded in the course of this review under case number 080269, including those of 4 February 2009, 29 September 2009, 21 October 2009, 26 October 2009, 28 October 2009 and 14 October 2010. I have also considered his legal submissions and affidavits in the High Court case - Patrick Kelly and the Information Commissioner and the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth Near Dublin [2006 No 40 MCA], and have had regard to the materials on, and referred to on, the website maintained by the applicant at http://www.trinitycollegevisitors.0catch.com. I have also considered the submissions of the College on the original case number 050364, its legal submissions and affidavits furnished in the court proceedings, its original decision and internal review decision as well as its submissions of 15 October 2009 in this case.
September 2002 - November 2005
The applicant enrolled in the College's Masters in Social Work course in September 2002. He was a student in the Department of Social Studies. The course is of two years' duration, and he left in September 2003 without having finished it. During and since that time, he has been involved in disputes with the College's staff, Chancellor and College Visitors arising from a number of matters, including assessment of course work and allegations by the applicant of discrimination and of bullying. These matters, amongst others, are described and commented upon by the applicant on a website he maintains at http://www.trinitycollegevisitors.0catch.com
The applicant had, in relation to the College, availed himself of the rights and facilities afforded by the FOI Act both before and after his request of 13 October, 2005.
In that regard, I refer to a table prepared by the College and submitted as part of its submissions to my Office dated 17 February, 2006, which has been provided to the applicant also, and which sets out the extent of the FOI activity involving the applicant and the College's handling of his various requests and applications.
Between 17 December 2002 and 10 November 2005 (the date of the College's original decision on the request now under review), the applicant had submitted 89 FOI requests and applications, and 2 Data Protection Act data subject access requests, to the College. Many of the requests and applications contained multiple components, such that, in all, the requests and applications comprised approximately 240 elements. Of these requests and applications, 19 were the subject of applications to my Office for external review following decisions and internal review decisions by the College. The applicant's requests and applications were made under section 7 of the Act (requests for access to records held), section 17 (application to have personal information amended as incomplete, incorrect or misleading) and section 18 (application for a statement of reasons for an act of a public body and of any findings on any material issues of fact made for the purposes of the act).
The applicant made his first FOI application to the College on 17 December 2002 while still a student there. In that application, he applied, under section 17 of the FOI Act, to have personal information amended in certain records held by the College concerning accounts of various incidents, including statements made by a referee from a previous placement and accounts of the incidents recorded by the Course Director.
The College's decisions on that application, and on two subsequent applications made in January 2003 under section 18 of the Act seeking statements of reasons for ''acts'' of the College affecting the applicant, were the subject of applications for review to my Office, and a composite decision on these under Case Reference Numbers 030183, 030184 and 030185 was issued by me on 15 July 2003, varying the College's decisions.
In the month of February 2003, the College received and dealt with 37 FOI requests from the applicant. Many of the FOI requests from the applicant in early 2003 appear to have arisen from exchanges between him and the College in or around the period in late 2002 and early 2003 on a complaint made by the applicant to the Equality Tribunal alleging victimisation and harassment by the College staff. For example, in Case No. 030159, my Office reviewed a decision to refuse access to, inter alia, joint personal information of the applicant and other individuals, and found in a decision of 31 July 2003, that disclosure of some of the information in the records was prohibited under section 32 of the FOI Act on the basis that section 36 of the Equal Status Act, 2000 provides that no information furnished to the equality tribunal for the purposes of any investigation, mediation, hearing or inquiry shall be disclosed except in certain limited circumstances. I also found that section 28 of the Act applied to exempt the personal information of other individuals contained in the records; I concluded that the public interest in the granting of the request did not outweigh the public interest in upholding the privacy rights of the third parties concerned.
In a decision dated 10 October 2003, in the exercise of my discretion under section 34(9) of the FOI Act, I discontinued review applications brought by the applicant arising from 12 requests and applications made to the College in the period 19 January 2003 to 17 April 2003. The review applications covered at least 77 separate requests under the Act - most of which sought statements of reasons under section 18 for ''acts'' of the College. Many of the applications stemmed from questions raised by the Course Director over the applicant's compliance with the admission requirements of the course and critical comments about the applicant's behaviour. I found that the applicant's pattern of conduct amounted to an abuse of process, and that, on the evidence before me, the applicant was using FOI tactically in pursuit of his disputes.
Part of the applicant's course in the College involved placement on a Practice Project at the Risk Assessment and Consultation Service of the then South West Area Health Board. In May 2003, the applicant submitted a complaint against his practice teacher, accusing her of ''incessant abuse and criticism''. It appears she terminated the applicant's placement a month early and that there was what Mr Justice Fennelly characterised in the Supreme Court in subsequent proceedings (Patrick Kelly v the Visitors of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin  IESC 61) as "... a deep seated and fundamental dispute between the applicant and his practice teacher...". The applicant's complaint was investigated under the College's policy and procedures for dealing with complaints of bullying and harassment. What transpired after that, including the applicant's allegations of bias on the part of one of the Visitors, is detailed in the Supreme Court judgment in the above proceedings seeking leave to apply for judicial review of a decision of the Visitors to Trinity College (available on www.courts.ie ), which sets out the various incidents and the sequence of events in and around the applicant's complaint and the applicant's correspondence with the College Authorities and with the College Visitors, including Mr Justice McCracken, in the period from May 2003 to November 2005. As I mentioned earlier in this decision, on a website he maintains at http://www.trinitycollegevisitors.0catch.com. the applicant also describes various events in his relationship with the College, its staff and so on, and provides the content or copies of, or links to, documents relating to this - including these proceedings.
On 21 March 2005, the applicant requested access to records of the completed answer scripts of all 17 students who sat papers in the February 2003 examination of year one of the Masters in Social work Course. The College released the applicant's own script, but refused to consider the third party records unless the statutory fee was paid. The applicant contended that these records related to his personal information and therefore did not attract a fee under the FOI Act. When the case came to my Office for review, having considered the provisions of section 47(6A)(c) of the Act, my delegated officer decided (Case No. 050157 of 6 July 2005) that a fee must be charged in circumstances where a requester is not seeking access to exclusively personal information about himself or herself.
On 20 September 2005, the College received an FOI request from the applicant in respect of all college records relating to his appeal against the College Visitors. The College granted part of the request, refused parts under section 28 of the Act where the records contained personal information of third parties and refused access to copies of correspondence which, it said, the applicant already had in his possession. The applicant applied to my Office for a review of that decision which review had not been finalised at the time he made the request the subject of this review. The College's decision was found to be justified in a decision (Case No. 050345) of my delegated officer dated 16 May 2006.
In an FOI request dated 13 October 2005, [his 90th request/application to the College under the FOI Acts] the applicant sought access to ''all College records that contain[ed] only personal information relating to [him] but ha[d] not already been released to [him] under either the Freedom of Information Acts or the Data Protection Acts". In that request,]he stated: "As exemptions previously cited may no longer apply, this request includes all College records that ''contain only personal information'' relating to me but were previously withheld by the College". Thus, the scope of his 90th request encompassed not only records or data which might or might not exist (and insofar as they existed, were not previously identified and released to him), but also records and data previously identified and withheld, which he was now asking the College to review again to see if previously-cited exemptions might no longer apply. The request was such that it required the College to seek to identify what records containing personal information relating to the requester might exist, which had not yet been released to him under either the FOI Act or the Data Protection Act, as well as to reconsider all records previously identified as containing his personal information that were previously withheld, and to see if the College might not now invoke the exemptions previously invoked to withhold them.
In its decision of 10 November 2005, the College refused access to the records on the basis that sections 7(1)(b), 10(1)(b) and 10(1)(e) of the FOI Act applied. The decision maker said that she considered it unreasonable of the applicant to expect the College to revisit all of his previous requests and "'...by a process of elimination to identify any personal records which may exist and which may not have been released to [him] previously." The decision maker offered to consider a new request should the applicant wish to ''refine'' the request and specify specific records.
The applicant did not take up that invitation, and, on 11 November 2005, pursuant to section 14 of the FOI Act, the applicant applied for an internal review of that decision.
In its internal review decision dated 29 November 2005, the College affirmed the original decision under sections 7(1) and 10(1)(e) stating that the request was considered to be vexatious, "forming, as it does 'a pattern of unreasonable requests' ". It said that responses to ''almost 250'' individual requests under the Data Protection Acts and the FOI Acts had already issued to the applicant.
Pursuant to section 34 of the FOI Act, the applicant applied to my Office, on 2 December 2005, for a review of the College's decision.
On 17 May 2006, my delegated officer made a decision affirming the College's decision to refuse to grant the request on the basis that the College had justified its application of section 10(1)(e) to the request.
Under section 42(1) of the FOI Act, the applicant then appealed to the High Court against that decision, on the ground, amongst others, that he had not been provided with a copy of the submissions of the College made to my Office during the review, and had not been afforded an opportunity of being heard in relation to them during the course of the review, and prior to my delegated officer making a decision on the matter.
By consent, by order dated 16 April 2008 ("the Consent Order"), the decision was set aside on the ground that the procedure outlined above was invalid, as it was an unfair procedure, and the matter was remitted to my Office to be reconsidered by me, or by an officer nominated by me, other than those officers who dealt with the original recommendation and decision.
November 2005 - May 2006
In the period from the making of the request in October 2005 to 16 May 2006 - the date of my Office's decision on case number 050364 which gave rise to the High Court proceedings initiated in May 2006 - the applicant continued to address further FOI requests and applications to the College.
In addition to formal FOI requests, the College received from the applicant requests for information stated to be outside of the FOI Act. For example, on 25 November 2005, he sought copies of Letters Patent, including those of 1857, a copy of a Particular High Court judgment involving the College and asked the College when the requirement of the Letters Patent of King George I that the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin should be one of the College Visitors changed and by what means it changed.
Up to February 2006, the total number of FOI requests (and applications) made by the applicant to the College (many containing multiple elements), rose to 107. I refer again to the Table prepared by the College in February 2006 setting out the applicant's FOI activity and its responses. In addition to the 107 mentioned above, he submitted 49 separate letters of request on one day (9 January 2006) in respect of personal information records for each month of the period spanning January 2002 to December 2005. These were counted as one request by the College. Following acknowledgement by the College of the 49 requests, the applicant sent, on 31 January 2006, applications under section 18 of the FOI Act requiring the College to provide statements of reasons and findings of material issues of fact in respect of 49 "acts" which he said materially affected him, including why each of the requests was not separately acknowledged and why only one reference number was allocated to them all.
On 17 January 2006, the College received from the applicant 157 letters requesting under FOI copies of any and all records containing his personal information that were created during each week from the week commencing 6 January 2003 to the week commencing 26 December 2006. This was also treated as a single request by the College.
As already mentioned above, in his application dated 31 January 2006, the applicant sought under section 18 of the Act, statements of reasons in respect of 49 ''acts'' which he claimed affected him. The acts described were mainly the expression of views and opinions by the Secretary to the College Board and other members of the College staff in correspondence with the applicant and ranged from the Secretary to the Board describing himself in correspondence as Secretary to the College to the Senior Dean employing a particular definition of the word ''abuse''. Many of the acts queried were connected with the College's response to the applicant's bullying and harassment claim and the issue of whether the Visitors had jurisdiction to become involved. Several of the acts referred back to previous requests for records under section 7 of the Act. For example, the 16th part of the application was as follows:
"In a letter dated December 2, 2005 and regarding a request under Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003, ......, Assistant Secretary to the Board of the College, wrote that ''releasing'' copies of the ''Visitors' rulings'' could be deemed to be personal information of the person(s) named in the reports (Section 28(a) of the FOI Acts)". As a person ''affected by'' this ''act'' of Trinity College and because I have "a material interest in a matter affected by the act or to which it relates'' I wish to apply, under Section 18(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1997, for a statement of the reasons for the act'' and a statement ''of any findings on any material issues of fact made for the purposes of the act''.
At the time of the submission of the College to my Office dated 17 February 2006, it was processing a further 11 applications from the applicant. One of these, dated 1 February 2006 sought statements of reasons under section 18 of the Act in respect of 5 ''acts'' of the College, all of which involved a statement issued to the applicant by the Secretary to the Board of the College on 30 January 2006 in relation to the role of the Board in assessing his bullying and harassment claim. A sixth element of the letter containing this application sought, under section 17 of the Act, an amendment of the Secretary's statement to the effect that there was no action to be decided upon by management because the complaint was not upheld and no recommendation was made. The amendment was sought on the basis that the statement was incorrect and misleading in that, in the applicant's view, there should have been a decision on the complaint, taking into account his comments on the findings put to him. This is an example of the re-visiting, by means of applications under the FOI Act, of issues and events surrounding the applicant's bullying and harassment claim where elements of a statement supplied by the College each became the subject of individual applications for statements of reasons or amendments to records.
On 1 February 2006, the applicant wrote to the College about the decision of the College visitors signed by Mr Justice Brian McCracken and the Pro- vice chancellor of the University of Dublin. He argued that acts of the Visitors were acts of the College, and sought under section 17 of the Act to have the decision of the Visitors amended on the basis that it was incorrect and misleading.
On 2 February 2006, the applicant wrote to the College, applying under section 18 of the Act for a statement of reasons and underlying fact-finding as to why the decision of the College Visitors on his appeal regarding the bullying and harassment complaint was ''sent to [him] by the secretary of the ostensible respondent to that appeal''. He also applied under section 18 for a statement of reasons and underlying fact-finding in regard to views and findings in various correspondence from the College. The letter further included an application under section 17 to have a letter from the College to the Health and Safety Authority amended on the basis that it was misleading in regard to procedures followed by the College in relation to its treatment of the bullying complaint.
Again, on 2 February 2006, the applicant wrote a letter to the College incorporating nine applications under section 18 of the Act in relation to comments in the statement of the Secretary to the board in which he said, inter alia, that the applicant's accusation of lying made against a another member of the College staff was ''totally incorrect'', ''libellous'' and ''defamatory''. The same letter included five separate applications under section 17 of the FOI Act to have statements amended on the basis that they were incorrect and misleading.
On 3 February 2006, the applicant wrote to the College referring to a refusal by its Librarian of his application for temporary membership of the Trinity College Library. He sought, under section 18, a statement of reasons as to why it was that approval could not be given.
In a letter dated 8 February 2006, the applicant referred the College to various sources on the Letters Patent and to his belief that the College and the University of Dublin ''are one body'' and asserted that the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin is a Visitor of the College. He applied under section 18 for a statement of reasons as to ''how can a decision of Dr Sagarra and Mr Justice McCracken be ''the decision of the Visitors''.
On 9 February 2006, the applicant wrote a detailed letter to the College setting out his observations on its manual or reference book under section 15 of the FOI Act and making four applications under section 18 of the FOI Act for statements of reasons as to why references to the College and the University of Dublin are ''misleading'' in implying that they are two bodies.
Also on 9 February 2006, the applicant applied under section 18 of the FOI Act for a statement of reasons as to why, in correspondence with him, the Assistant Secretary to the Board of the College made certain references to the Letters Patent of 1857 which the applicant claimed were incorrect. The applicant went on to claim that the statement was his personal information and that this should be amended under section 17 of the Act. He further made a section 18 application in respect of a statement concerning the position of the Vice Chancellor and claimed that was also his personal information and should be amended under section 17.
In a letter of 13 February 2006, the applicant referred back to the evaluation report of his practice teacher when he was a student in May 2003. He extracted 40 separate observations from that report and sought statements of reasons under section 18 in respect of all of these. He ended the letter by requiring the College to substantiate everything she had said about him, and by indicating that anything that could not be properly substantiated would become the subject of an application under section 17(1) of the FOI Act 1997 for deletion as incorrect and misleading.
In another application, dated 14 February 2006, in the course of an application for internal review of the College's decision on the 157 requests of 17 January 2006 described above, the applicant sought a statement of reasons under section 18 of the FOI Act for five ''acts'' of the decision maker which were, in effect, the decision maker's findings in respect of the 157 requests. The applicant took issue with the College's decision to treat its one decision as covering the 157 request letters.
On 27 February 2006, the applicant made a section 17 application for amendment of statements made in a section 14 internal review decision of the College addressed to him, in relation to his earlier 49 requests for access to records.
On 27 February 2006 several section 17 and 18 applications were included in a letter from the applicant to the College concerning the accreditation of the post graduate course in social work and the National Qualification in Social Work (NQSW) and alleged inadequacy of procedures for assessment of students procedures. Statements of reasons and amendment were sought in respect of several parts of the course handbook.
It appears that, in late February 2006, the applicant received from the College a response to a request for personal data under the Data Protection Act and that his examination of those records gave rise to a sequence of FOI applications based on analysis and criticism of the content of correspondence released.
On 28 February 2006, the applicant wrote at least eight letters to the College each containing several applications under section 17 and section 18 of the Act in respect of statements in the correspondence released by the College under the Data Protection Act. Additional applications were made on 3 March and on 20 March 2006. The requests for statements of reasons and for amendment of records covered such issues as why a letter addressed to the applicant had not issued to him, a description of the applicant's emails as 'SPAM', allegations that the applicant had misrepresented the position regarding the European Convention on Human Rights, The Equal Status Act, the Irish Constitution, the College Statutes , the FOI Acts and the Data Protection Act, removal of the applicant's message from a Students Union website, a statement by the College Librarian and statements about the functions of the College Visitors. Some of the letters contained up to 17 separate elements.
30 applications for review of the decisions of the College on some of the requests and applications detailed above are currently pending in my Office and were the subject of some submissions by the applicant in the course of this review; I deal with those submissions below, where relevant.
On 2 December 2008, Elizabeth Dolan, Senior Investigator of my Office, wrote to the applicant informing him that she had been nominated to carry out the reconsideration the subject of the Consent Order and to make recommendations to me.
She invited the applicant to submit observations on two submissions furnished by the College which he had not had the opportunity of commenting upon in the original review process.
In a response dated 3 December 2008, the applicant commented upon Ms Dolan's letter and requested clarification on a number of points.
Ms Dolan responded on 12 December 2008 setting out the proposed procedure for carrying out the review and answering the queries raised.
The applicant made further submissions dated 12 December and 19 December 2008 in which he expressed the view that the College's two submissions were not properly before the Commissioner in this review because the College had not said that it wanted those submissions to be considered. The applicant took issue with a number of issues arising from Ms Dolan's correspondence and claimed that she had sought to mislead him. He requested that the case be assigned to someone else as he considered that it was not appropriate for Ms Dolan to continue to investigate the case.
Following consideration of the matter by the Director General of my Office and myself, the applicant was informed that Ms Dolan's approach to the review was considered to be satisfactory and in accordance with the FOI Acts. In subsequent correspondence, the applicant was furnished with details of Ms Dolan's experience and grading.
By letter dated 13 January 2009, the College confirmed that it wished to have its previous submissions, including legal submissions, considered.
The applicant did not pursue the matter of Ms. Dolan's involvement and my Office allowed the applicant additional time to make his submissions. He stated that he wished to have all of his legal submissions and affidavits in the High Court proceedings taken into account in the review. On 4 February 2009, the applicant furnished additional submissions.
By letter dated 25 September 2009, Ms Dolan sent to the applicant and to the College her preliminary views on the review and invited submissions on the issues raised. The applicant made submissions dated 29 September 2009. He addressed Ms Dolan's views and said that if my final decision was to confirm her views and recommendations, he would appeal to the High Court under section 42(1) of the FOI Act. He set out seven grounds for such appeal and stated that he may amend or add to these "indicative'' grounds.
Ms Dolan issued a further letter to the College on 16 October 2009 inviting it to supply, in the context of section 10(1)(c) of the FOI Act, an assessment of the likely impact on work of the College in retrieving and examining the records sought. Its response was received on 21 October 2009 and was copied to the applicant on 23 October 2009.
Following contact with the applicant by Ms Dolan concerning 30 other separate applications for review submitted to my Office by him arising from FOI requests and applications to the College, the applicant, in a submission of 20 October 2009, objected to Ms Dolan's continued involvement in this review, on the ground of bias and procedural unfairness. In response, Ms Dolan informed the applicant that she did not believe that there existed any reasonable grounds for apprehending bias or for the identification of procedural unfairness. She asked him to particularise his claims in order that they might be considered further. On 21 October 2009, the applicant submitted that Ms Dolan's examination of his case should have ended on the issue of her preliminary views. The applicant sent his observations on the College submissions to me on 28 October 2009. Following several further exchanges, he confirmed that he believed that Ms Dolan and I were prejudiced and biased against him in relation to the current review and that my Office's procedure was invalid. In particular, the applicant submitted that a reasonable person would apprehend bias on the part of Ms Dolan and that I, [the Commissioner] had displayed antipathy towards him in the course of his appeal to the High Court. He asked that the case be allocated to another staff member. On 21 December 2009, the Director General of my Office wrote to the applicant rejecting his request that the case be assigned to a staff member other than Ms Dolan. His request that I delegate my decision making function to an investigator in my Office was also rejected.
As my Office's position on these matters had been explained to the applicant in detail and implemented in practice without further specific complaint from him, consideration of the review proceeded in my Office.
Before she made her recommendations to me, in a letter dated 24 September 2010 (sent by email and by post), Ms Dolan afforded the applicant a further opportunity to make submissions and provide any evidence or material he wished to put forward in relation to some issues in the review. She set out the materials she would be putting before me and referred to her "preliminary views" letter of 25 September 2009. She drew attention to her revised consideration of the question of whether a request could be frivolous and/or vexatious and informed the applicant of her intended recommendations in relation to section10(1)(c) and section 10(1)(e) of the FOI Act. Ms Dolan asked for a response by 8 October 2010.
On the same day (24 September 2010) the applicant responded to Ms Dolan's letter. He made a request under section 4 of the Data Protection Act 1988, as amended, for copies of all "personal data" processed by my Office since the date of his "last access request". He stated that a full response to Ms Dolan's letter would be made following his "receipt and consideration of the requested personal data". The letter concluded "If that data is not received before 8 October 2010 the response obviously, will not issue before 8 October 2010." Again, on 24 September 2010, Ms Dolan acknowledged that request and said that she would pass it to the officer responsible for Data Protection requests in my Office (Ms Phyllis Flynn).
By letter dated 12 October 2010, Ms Flynn notified the applicant of her decision under the Data Protection Act. She refused the request on the basis that section 5 of the Act provides that section 4 does not apply to personal data kept by the Data Protection Commissioner or the Information Commissioner for the purposes of his or her functions.
By letter dated 14 October 2010, the applicant made submissions addressed to me in response to Ms Dolan's letter of 24 September 2010.
I consider that the review must now be brought to a close by the issuing of a final, binding, decision.
Section 8(4) of the FOI Act, as amended, provides that, "Subject to the provisions of this Act, in deciding whether to grant or refuse to grant a request under section 7, (a) any reason that the requester gives for the request, and (b) any belief or opinion of the head as to what are the reasons of the requester for the request, shall be disregarded.
Section 10(1)(c) of the FOI Act as amended, provides for refusal of a request if "in the opinion of the head, granting the request would, by reason of the number or nature of the records concerned or the nature of the information concerned, require the retrieval and examination of such number of records or an examination of such kind of the records concerned as to cause a substantial and unreasonable interference with or disruption of work of the public body concerned."
Section 10(1)(e) of the FOI Act, as amended, provides that a request may be refused if "the request is, in the opinion of the head, frivolous or vexatious, or forms part of a pattern of manifestly unreasonable requests from the same requester or from different requesters who, in the opinion of the head, appear to have made the requests acting in concert".
From the material, facts and circumstances before me generally, and having regard to the submissions, evidence and material adduced by both the applicant and the College (the latter seeking to discharge the burden on it in this review), I consider it reasonable to infer and find as follows:
Having carried out a review under section 34(2) of the FOI Act, 1997, (as amended), and having regard to the facts and circumstances obtaining, having carefully considered the submissions, evidence and material adduced by the applicant and by the College and that mentioned generally under the heading, "material considered" above, and having regard to the findings of fact and the inferences I have drawn above, I am satisfied, with due regard to the provisions of the FOI Act (including section 34(12)(b) and section 8(4) (as amended)), that the College's decision to refuse to grant the applicant's request was justified on the basis that the provisions of section 10(1)(c) and/or section 10(1)(e) apply.
That is to say, in light of all of the foregoing, I am satisfied that, within the meaning of the above-mentioned provisions,
Accordingly, I hereby affirm the decision of the College to refuse to grant the request.
A party to a review or any other person affected by a decision of the Information Commissioner following a review, may appeal to the High Court on a point of law arising from that decision. Such an appeal must be initiated not later than eight weeks from the date on which notice of the decision was given to the person bringing the appeal.