THE University of Limerick will host a one-day conference examining the impact of 15 years of the Freedom of Information Act in Ireland.
The conference, entitled ‘The Right to Know’ on February 11, will be addressed by the Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly, Ian Readhead, director of Information for the Association of Chief Police Officers and a number of other guests.
“Irish democracy has opened up dramatically since the introduction of FOI in 1997 – but many of the well drafted provisions in the original legislation were filleted out by the 2003 Amendment Act,” said Dr Maura Adshead, head of the department of politics and public administration.
“Open government legislation is important because it keeps government honest – administrations during the Celtic Tiger years were shielded from such transparency since 2003,” she added.
Tom Felle, head of the journalism department, said: “In 15 years since the legislation has been introduced Irish society has changed dramatically, and has opened up considerably. It would be unacceptable today for TDs expenses, for example, to be hidden. But far too many areas - most notably An Garda Siochana – remain hidden from public scrutiny.” Attendance costs €40 including lunch.