Freedom of Information

Councillor Kieran Binchy sent the following letter to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, on the 17 July 2013 regarding proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, and the need for companies owned by local authorities such as County and City Councils to be included in the scheme of the legislation. If implemented, this would close a loophole whereby Councils can work secretly through private companies. He has also called on his local TDs, Lucinda Creighton and Eoghan Murphy, to support his proposal.


Dear Minister Howlin,


I welcome the news that the Freedom of Information Act will be amended in the coming months to include NAMA within its remit. I urge you to use this amendment to close a loophole within the current scheme of the Freedom of Information legislation.


As it currently stands, the legislation does not cover companies owned by local authorities, even when those companies are owned by a local authority, and are funded by the local authority, and the company’s staff are remunerated with local authority funds. This means that a company which is carrying out a public function using public money is not currently transparent and accountable through the Freedom of Information legislation.


Local authorities are included within the remit of the legislation. Private companies owned by Government Departments are included within the remit of the legislation. But at the moment a loophole allows local authorities (city and county councils) to set up companies and to carry out public works through those companies without public scrutiny. Those companies often operate in the arts, culture or community development sectors, areas which should demand the highest levels of transparency and accountability.


As a board member of two such companies, and as someone who has worked to bring the highest standards of corporate governance to both of those boards, I am asking that these companies be included in the scheme of the Freedom of Information Act. This proposed amending legislation is the perfect opportunity to do so. Please do not waste it.


Yours sincerely,


Cllr. Kieran Binchy



Cllr. Kieran Binchy

Fine Gael

South East Inner City


(087) 177 4365

91, The Windmill,

Lime St,

Dublin 2