Mr X and Wexford County Council

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date21 Jun 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Council.
RespondentWexford County Council
Record NumberOIC-106023-H7C5X0
Whether the Council was justified in refusing, under section 42(m) of the Act, the applicant’s request for the name(s) of the person(s) who made a complaint to the Council in connection with his property and the details of the complaint made

21 June 2021


On 19 February 2020, a Council official visited the applicant’s property on foot of a complaint the Council had received about alleged unauthorised development at the property. The applicant wrote to the Council on 23 February 2020 seeking the name(s) of the person(s) who had made the complaint. In its response of 6 March 2020, the Council said it does not release the details of a complainant on an enforcement file.

The applicant then contacted the Council and asked or details of the complaint made. On 11 March 2020, the Council provided the details of the complaint. It also said that a complainant’s details provided in confidence cannot be divulged, pursuant to section 42(m) of the FOI Act. Following further correspondence between the parties, including the applicant’s solicitor, the Council informed the applicant that it was satisfied there was no basis for the complaint and that its enforcement file was closed.

On 16 September 2020, the applicant submitted an FOI request to the Council for the name(s) of the person(s) who made the complaint and the details of the complaint made, both written and verbal. On 13 October 2020, the Council refused the request under section 35(1) of the FOI Act. The applicant sought a review of that decision on 30 October 2020, following which the Council affirmed its decision to refuse the request. On 6 April 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Council’s decision.

During the course of the review, the Council indicated that it also wished to rely on section 42(m) of the Act in support of its refusal of the request. This Office’s investigating officer informed the applicant of the Council’s reliance on that provision and of her view that the Council was justified in relying on that provision to refuse access to the details of the complainant(s). She invited the applicant to make a submission on the matter and he did so.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out this review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the Council and the applicant as outlined above and to the correspondence between this Office and both the Council and the applicant on the matter. I have also had regard to the contents of the records held by the Council that contain the information sought. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether the Council...

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