Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 1997 everyone has the right:

    • To access information held by public bodies;
    • To have official information relating to him/herself amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading;
    • To obtain reasons for decisions affecting oneself 

    This information has been prepared and published in accordance with the requirements of sections 15 & 16 of the 1997 Act. It will provide assistance to those seeking information under the FOI Acts. Following the enactment of a new Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act in late 2014, a new reference guide is in the process of being prepared which will be published here shortly.

    Its purpose is to facilitate access to official information held by HRI. It does this by outlining the structure and functions of HRI; the services provided and how they may be availed of, the classes of records held; and how a request to the HRI under the FOI Act, of 1997 can be made.  

    Routinely Available Information

    At present Horse Racing Ireland makes a range of information available to the public in relation to its functions, activities and schemes. Such information will continue to be made available without the need to use the FOI Act.  

    This reference book highlights, in relation to each of Horse Racing Ireland’s activities where information of this nature is available.  

    In general, information leaflets are available free of charge from Horse Racing Ireland, while reports, guides and documents on programmes generally may be purchased from the Government Publications Sales Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 -  Tel: 01-6613111

    The Freedom of Information Act is designed to allow public access to information held by public bodies, which is NOT routinely available through other sources. Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemption and involves specific procedures and time limits. Information on making a request under this Act is set out in Section 2.

     

    Main Features of the Act 

    How can a request be made?
    A person can seek information from Horse Racing Ireland covered by the Act by sending a written request to HRI. The Act specifies that requests must:- 

    a) Specify that they are under the FOI Act and
    b) Be clear enough to enable the public body to identify the records sought. 

    In cases where the public body is not clear as to what records are being requested, staff are obliged to endeavour to assist the requester in identifying the relevant records. 

    Applications for information should be addressed to:

    FOI Coordinator,
    Horse Racing Ireland,
    Ballymany,
    The Curragh,
    Co. Kildare

    Tel: (0)45 455 455
    Fax: (0)45 455 456 

    Following receipt of any such applications, HRI will review the request to ascertain whether the request can be dealt with without the need to use the FOI Act, the timings involved and any fees which may arise.

    Time Limits: Horse Racing Ireland will have up to four weeks in which to respond to a request. 


    Fee

    The following charges apply in relation to requests for records made under the FOI Act: 


    Application Fees / Search and Retrieval and Copying Fees

    Some fees may apply in respect of the time spent searching and retrieving records that are released to you on foot of you request and in respect of the copying of any records released. Such fees are unlikely to arise if your request is for personal information.

    The rates of these fees are as follows:  

    €20.95 per hour of search and retrieval
    €0.04 per sheet for a photocopy
    €0.51 for a three and a half inch computer diskette containing copy documents
    €10.16 for a CD-ROM containing copy documents
    €6.35 for a radiograph (X-ray) containing copy documents 

    Deposits
    A deposit is payable where the estimated cost of search and retrieval of records sought is estimated to exceed €50.79. In such a case, every effort must be made to assist the requester to amend the request so as to reduce or eliminate the amount of the deposit.  

    Reductions and Waivers

    A fee in respect of search and retrieval and copying of records will be waived where the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee would exceed the amount of the fee itself (a guideline of less than €10 is used in this respect);
    A fee in respect of search and retrieval and copying of records or a deposit may be reduced or waived where the information in the record would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance.
    A charge applies to most internal and independent reviews ( Information Commissioner) concerning access to non-personal records. There is a reduction for medical card holders. These will be notified to you at the appropriate time by the relevant public body. 

    Exemptions

    Any official information held by Horse Racing Ireland can be sought under the Act. However, it is necessary to exempt from release certain types of information in some circumstances. These are set out in Part III of the Act.

    Among the key exemptions are records relating to:

    • Meetings of the Government
    • Deliberations of public bodies
    • Investigative functions and negotiations
    • Law enforcement and security
    • Confidential and commercially sensitive information
    • ersonal information (other than information relating to the person making the request)
    • Economic interests of the State

     

    Most of these exemptions are not absolute. In most cases information may be withheld only if it can be demonstrated that a specific harm or injury would arise from disclosure. Many are subject to an overall test of whether disclosure would be in the public interest.

    Internal Review

    You may seek an internal review, which will be carried out by an official at a higher level to the official who made the original decision, if you are dissatisfied with the initial response received (refusal of information, form of access, fees, etc.)

    You have not received a reply within the four weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to an internal review.

     

    Requests for internal review should be addressed to:-

    FOI Coordinator,
    Horse Racing Ireland,
    Ballymany,
    The Curragh,
    Co. Kildare

     

    Tel: (0)45 455 455
    Fax: (0)45 455 456

     

    Email: foi@hri.ie

     


    Rights of Appeal

    In the event of a request being refused, requesters can appeal to the public body to re-examine their case. Horse Racing Ireland must have the request reviewed by someone more senior than the person who made the original decision. The reviewer can change or agree with the original decision. Internal review must be completed within 3 weeks.

     

    If the requester is still unhappy with the decision, he or she has the right to appeal the decision to the independent Office of Information Commissioner.

    Appeals to the Information Commissioner

    Following completion of the internal review, you may seek an independent review of the decision from the Information Commissioner. If you have not received a reply for and internal review within three weeks this is deemed to be a refusal and yo may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner.

     

    Appeals in writing may be made directly to the Information Commissioner at the following address:

     

    Office of the Information Commissioner
    18 Lower Leeson Street
    Dublin 2

     

    Ph: (0)1 6785222
    Fax: (0)1 6610570

     

    Email:ombudsman@ombudsman.irlgov.ie

     


    Confidentiality
    Horse Racing Ireland undertakes to use its best endeavours to hold confidential any information provided by you, subject to Horse Racing Ireland’s obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Act. Should you wish that any of the information supplied by you should not be disclosed because of its sensitivity, you should, when providing information, identify same and specify reason for its sensitivity. Horse Racing Ireland will consult with you about this sensitive information before making a decision on any Freedom of Information request received in respect of it.

     

    If information is not identified as sensitive, with supporting reasons, then it may be released in response to any relevant FOI request. 

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