NORTH SOUTH BODIES INFORMATION CODE COMES INTO OPERATION
A new Freedom of Information Code of Practice, to facilitate public access to information held by the North/South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland Ltd. since their inception in 1999, comes into operation today.
The Code was jointly launched by Brian Cowen TD, Minister of Finance and Jeff Rooker, Minister at the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), each of whom have responsibility for Freedom of Information in their respective jurisdictions.
The Code was open to public consultation over the past four months and has been operated on a pilot basis by the six North/South Bodies and Tourism Ireland Ltd. since June 2005.
Brian Cowen said that he now looked forward to the Code’s successful implementation by the North South Bodies and Tourism Ireland Limited. He said that it is a further example of the deepening and widening application of FOI throughout the public sector. The Minister also emphasised that resort to the Code by members of the public should not be regarded as the only test of its value: “While the Freedom of Information Code provides a framework which facilitates public access to information held by the Bodies, the Irish and UK experience suggests it will also result in information being released informally, outside the Code’s formal provisions”.
Welcoming the introduction of the Code, Jeff Rooker said it represented an important step forward in North South co-operation: “Through the disclosure of information the North South Bodies are striving to make their public services more effective through greater openness and accountability”
As well as facilitating public access to information the Code provides that the Bodies publish information on their functions, structures, organisation and services, as well as a general description of the type of information held by the Body.
The Code also sets out the processes and procedures which they must follow in handling a request for information.
9 February 2006
Click here for the Freedom of Information Code of Practice North South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland Ltd.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The six North South Implementation Bodies are:
(i) Foras na Gaeilge; and
(ii) The Ulster-Scots Agency
2. Tourism is taken forward by Tourism Ireland Ltd, a publicly owned company.
3. The Code of Practice can be obtained from the following websites:
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