Ms X and Mr Y, c/o Z Solicitors and Donegal County Council

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date20 October 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the Council's refusal of the name under section 42(m)(i) of the FOI Act, on the basis that it would disclose the identity of a person providing confidential information regarding the enforcement of the law.
RespondentDonegal County Council
Record NumberOIC-107811-Z2G8X6
Whether the Council was justified in refusing access to the name of the party who reported the applicants’ breach of environmental legislation

OIC-107811-Z2G8X6

Background

In a request dated 23 November 2020, the applicants sought access to the name of the party who reported their alleged breach of environmental legislation (the complainant). In a decision dated 15 December 2020, the Council released the relevant entry in its Environmental Complaints register (the register), with the complainant name redacted under section 37(1) (personal information). On 1 January 2021, the applicants sought an internal review. On 27 January 2021, the Council affirmed its decision on the request. On 30 April 2021, the applicants sought a review by this Office of the Council’s decision.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act and I have decided to conclude it by way of a formal, binding decision. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the above exchanges and correspondence between this Office, the Council and the applicants. I have also had regard to the contents of two records relevant to the request and to the provisions of the FOI Act.

Scope of the Review

The review is confined to the sole issue of whether the Council’s decision on the applicants’ request was justified under the provisions of the FOI Act.

The Council says that the name redacted from the register is that of a Council staff member who received an email from the complainant alleging the applicants’ breach of environmental legislation, and whose name was inserted into the register in error. I am satisfied from the records copied to this Office that this is a correct representation of events. This Office’s Investigator told the applicants that she felt the name redacted from the register is not covered by their request because it is not the actual complainant’s. No response has been received from the applicants. Having regard to the foregoing, I am satisfied that the name redacted from the register is not covered by the applicants’ FOI request. In the circumstances, I have no jurisdiction to consider this name further.

The Council says that the complainant’s email was not considered for release because it was not attached to the register. However, I am satisfied that I am entitled to consider the part of this email covered by the request i.e. the complainant’s name.

Findings

The Council relies on various provisions of the FOI Act in...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT