Ms Y and Trinity College Dublin

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date07 April 2022
Case OutcomeThe Investigator affirmed TCD's decision.
RespondentTrinity College Dublin
Record NumberOIC-117203-J4M0N5
Whether TCD was justified in refusing access, under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act, to details of the number of applicants for the Senior Academic Promotion Call 2019 competition at TCD by nationalities of applicants (Irish v non-Irish)

7 April 2022

Background

In a request dated 19 March 2021, the applicant sought details of the number of applicants for the Senior Academic Promotion Call (SAPC) 2019 competition at TCD by gender and nationalities of applicants (Irish v non-Irish).

In a decision dated 11 May 2021, TCD provided a breakdown of the number of applicants and successful applicants by gender. It refused details broken down by nationality under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the ground that it does not hold the information sought.

On 2 June 2021, the applicant sought an internal review of that decision. She argued that TCD holds nationality records on all employees within its employee portal CORE. She also referred to the fact that TCD publishes an annual equality monitoring report that includes information on the nationality of all its staff.

In a decision dated 14 June 2021, TCD affirmed its refusal of the request for information relating to the nationalities of applicants. It said staff are not compelled to provide their nationality to Human Resources and while it may hold nationality information for some staff, it does not hold this information for the purpose of the SAPC application process. It argued that for it to go into individuals records to obtain their nationality would be creating a new record for the purpose of obtaining nationality of SAPC applicants. On 13 December 2021, the applicant applied to this Office for a review of TCD’s decision.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the submissions made by both TCD and the applicant. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether TCD was justified in refusing access, under section 15(1)(a) of the Act, to details of the number of applicants for the Senior Academic Promotion Call (SAPC) 2019 competition at TCD by nationalities of applicants (Irish v non-Irish).

Preliminary Matter

In her submission to this Office, the applicant argued, among other things, that non-Irish and Irish staff members have equal right to promotion and that TCD’s reluctance to share nationality records suggests that it may not be...

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