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Mr Z and An Garda Síochána

170354

Whether AGS was justified in its decision to refuse access to records relating to the applicant, on the ground that the records sought are excluded from the scope of the FOI Act, pursuant to Schedule 1, Part 1(n) of the FOI Act

Conducted in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review

Background

The applicant submitted a request to AGS on 21 June 2017 for access to records relating to him held by AGS. On 22 June 2017, AGS refused the applicant's request on the ground that it is subject to the FOI Act in relation to administrative records relating to human resources, finance or procurement matters only and that the records sought, relating to operational policing matters, are not administrative records.

On 23 June 2017, the applicant sought an internal review of that decision, following which AGS affirmed its original decision. The applicant sought a review by this Office of that decision on 12 July 2017.

In conducting this review, I have had regard to the correspondence between AGS and the applicant as outlined above, to the applicant's correspondence with this Office, and to communications between this Office and AGS on the matter.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether AGS was justified in refusing access to the records sought by the applicant on the ground that the FOI Act does not apply in respect of the records, in accordance with Schedule 1, Part 1(n) of the Act.

Analysis and Findings

Section 6(2)(a) of the FOI Act provides that an entity specified in Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Act 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 the certain specified records that are excluded. If the records sought come within the description of the exclusions in Part 1, then the Act does not apply and no right of access exists.

Schedule 1, Part 1(n) provides that AGS is not a public body for the purposes of the FOI Act other than in relation to administrative records relating to human resources, or finance or procurement matters. In its submission to this Office, AGS stated that the records sought pertain to an ongoing criminal investigation by AGS and are concerned with operational policing matters. It argued, therefore, that such records do not meet the criteria of administrative records as defined in the Act.

Having regard to the nature of the request and the description of the records sought, I accept that they are captured by the exclusion in Part 1(n). The records at issue concern the core functions of AGS, as opposed to administrative matters relating to human resources, or finance or procurement. Accordingly, I find that AGS was justified in its decision to refuse access to the records sought on the ground that they are specifically excluded from the scope of the FOI Act.

Decision

Having carried out a review under section 22(2) of the FOI Act, I hereby affirm the decision of AGS in this case.

Right of Appeal

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.


Stephen Rafferty
Senior Investigator