Information Commissioner Emily O'Reilly
On 11 June 2009, Emily O'Reilly was appointed to a second six-year term as Ombudsman and Information Commissioner.
The Office of Information Commissioner was established in 1997 by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. The primary role of the Commissioner is to review FOI decisions where the requester has exercised the right to an Internal Review and, where settlement is not reached, to issue a binding decision which is open to appeal to the Higher Courts on a point of law. Additionally, the Information Commissioner promotes the operation of the FOI Act and, from time to time, publishes commentaries on the operation of the FOI Act.
In May 2007, following the introduction of the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations which transposed Directive 2003/4/EC into Irish law, Ms O'Reilly was assigned the Office of Commissioner for Environmental Information, the primary role being that of deciding on appeals against decisions taken by public authorities on requests for access to environmental information.
As Ombudsman, Ms O'Reilly's principal role is to investigate complaints from members of the public who feel they have been unfairly treated by government departments, local authorities, the health services and An Post. More information is available on the website of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is also a member of the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Constituency Commission, the Referendum Commission and of the Commission for Public Service Appointments.
Prior to her initial appointment as Information Commissioner and Ombudsman in June 2003, Ms O'Reilly was an accomplished journalist and author whose roles included many many years as a political correspondent with prominent print and broadcasting media. She is a native of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, and is married with five children. Ms O'Reilly is a graduate of University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. She was also the recipient of a Niemann Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University, Cambridge, U.S.A. In December 2008, Ms O'Reilly was awarded a Doctor of Laws by the National University of Ireland in recognition of her contribution to public service and to human rights.