Case number: OIC-115419-V1B6D2
In a request dated 8 September 2021, the applicant requested copies of all records held referring and/or relating to her and a named individual. On 17 September 2021, GSOC refused the request on the ground that the records sought are excluded from the scope of the FOI Act, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(y) of the Act. The applicant sought an internal review of that decision, following which affirmed its refusal of the request. On 5 November 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of GSOC’s decision.
I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the correspondence between GSOC and the applicant as outlined above and to the correspondence between this Office and both parties on the matter. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.
This review is concerned solely with whether GSOC was justified in refusing the applicant’s request for all records referring and relating to her and a named individual on the ground that the FOI Act does not apply in respect of the records sought, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(y) of the Act.
Section 6(2)(a) of the FOI Act provides that an entity specified in Part 1 of Schedule 1 shall, subject to the provisions of that Part, be a public body for the purposes of the Act. Schedule 1, Part 1 contains details of bodies that are partially included for the purposes of the Act and also details of certain specified records that are excluded. If the records sought come within the descriptions of the exclusions in Part 1, then the Act does not apply and no right of access exists.
Schedule 1, Part 1(y) provides that GSOC is not a public body for the purposes of the Act in relation to records concerning an examination or investigation carried out by it under Part 4 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (the 2005 Act).
In its submission to this Office, GSOC said that following a search of its records, it established that the requested records were associated with a specific GSOC investigation file. It said that this investigation file was opened following the submission of a complaint to GSOC by the applicant. Following an examination of the applicant’s complaint it was deemed admissible and subsequently investigated under section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 (which is provided for under Part 4 of that Act). It confirmed that the records sought relate solely to the GSOC investigation file.
Having regard to the nature and description of the records sought in this case, I am satisfied that they are captured by the exclusion in Part 1(y) of Schedule 1. Accordingly, I find that GSOC was justified in its decision to refuse the applicant’s request on the ground that the records sought are excluded from the scope of the FOI Act, pursuant to Part 1(y), Schedule 1 of the Act.
Having carried out a review under section 22(2) of the FOI Act 2014, I hereby affirm the decision of GSOC to refuse the applicant’s request for any records relating to her and/or referring to her and a named individual on the ground that the FOI Act does not apply in respect of the records sought, pursuant to Part 1(y), Schedule 1 of the Act.
Section 24 of the FOI Act sets out detailed provisions for an appeal to the High Court by a party to a review, or any other person affected by the decision. In summary, such an appeal, normally on a point of law, must be initiated not later than four weeks after notice of the decision was given to the person bringing the appeal.