Open Letter Addressed to Minister Brendan Howlin asking to commit to dropping FOI/AIE fees as part of Ireland’s 1st OGP Action Plan

Signatories at the bottom

Why Now:

The Minister is talking about the Freedom of Information Bill but not about fees. The OGP Action Plan provides a new opportunity but it is being dismissed.


The Opportunity
This Open Letter highlights the opportunity that the Government has as part of the OGP Action Plan and its commitment to the Open Government Partnership to change course in the FOI legislation that is currently being debated. We are asking the minister to drop all fees at all stages of FOI and AIE requests and to include this as a commitment in the forthcoming 1st Irish OGP Action Plan. 


The Open Letter was formulated and signed by the Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland in conjunction with a host of Irish & International FOI subject matter experts, national and international organisations specializing in freedom of information and government transparency and a host of individuals and group members that see the need to finally #abolishFOIfees in Ireland.

You can still sign if you feel strongly about FOI and AIE fees. Please sign in the comments section and we pull your signatures into the list periodically in the run up to the May Regional OGP Conference that takes place in Dublin Castle (register)


The Need
The need for the open letter arises from the fact that this proposed commitment has been struck from the current draft OGP Action Plan by the department irrespective of the recommendations from the public meetings and the group of civil society actors that has been reviewing the evolving draft over the past 2 months.


Relevance: Irish Citizens consider free of charge freedom of information requests a basic human right and an OGP priority
Citizens who participated in 3 public meetings in Wood Quay during the consultation on Ireland’s participation in the Open Government Partnership between July and September 2013 highlighted “abolishing fees for all stages of FOI and Access to Environmental Information (AIE) requests” as an OGP priority’. A vote was put forward at the last public meeting on Sept. 5th and it was carried unanimously.

Contact: Denis Parfenov (+353863850044 / or Flora Fleischer (+353851587423 /


[Updated with Signatures 17-4-2014] Open Letter Asking Minister Howlin to Re-Assess Possibility to Drop FOI… by Open Knowledge Ireland



Groups and Organisations


  1. Access Info Europe, Helen Darbishire

  2. An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, Andrew Jackson

  3. ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression and Information

  4. Active Citizen and Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland, Denis Parfenov

  5. Active Citizen, Martin Wallace

  6. Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel

  7. CiviQ, Vanessa Liston

  8. Claiming our Future, Anna Visser

  9. Crosscare Migrant Project, Joe O’Brien

  10. Centre for Law and Democracy, Toby Mendel

  11. Friends of the Irish Environment, Tony Lowes

  12. German OGP Working group (, Christian Heise

  13. Global Integrity, Alan Hudson

  14. Green Party / Comhaontas Glas, Eamon Ryan

  15. IrelandOffline (, Eamonn Wallace – Chairman

  16. IRLOGI, Richard Cantwell – Vice President

  17. Obong Denis Udo-Inyang Foundation, Nigeria, Emem Udo-Inyang

  18. Open Knowledge Foundation, Rufus Pollock

  19. Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium, Pieter-Jan Pauwels

  20. Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V., Christian Heise

  21. Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland, Flora Fleischer

  22. Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland, Salua Nassabay

  23., Patrice McDermott

  24. Oxfam Ireland, Jim Clarken

  25. Request Initiative, Lucas Amin

  26. Second Republic, Jonathan Victory

  27. Second Republic, Oliver Moran

  28. TASC, Nat O’Connor

  29. TASC and Transparency International Ireland, Nuala Haughey

  30. The Climate Gathering, Ryan Meade

  31. The Environmental Pillar

  32. Transparency International Ireland, John Devitt

In personal capacity


  1. Peter Bofin

  2. Rodney Breen

  3. David Brennan, CEO Dublin City Business Association

  4. Sharon Briggs PBP

  5. Sergy Cernega.CEO-NGO Justice for All

  6. Anne Colgan

  7. Bernadette Connolly, Cork Environmental Forum

  8. Dave Corley – Openstreetmap Ireland Member

  9. Gerard Cunningham, freelance journalist, chairman Dublin Freelance NUJ branch

  10. Shawn Day – Lecturer

  11. Clare Daly – TD

  12. D Dennison, Salmon & Sea Trout Recreational Anglers of Ireland, WLR

  13. Michael Ewing, The Environmental Pillar

  14. Kevin Flanagan

  15. Trish Forde-Brennan,Community Activist and Environmentalist Limerick

  16. Ken Foxe, Journalist

  17. Constantin Gurdgiev – Economist

  18. John Handelaar — and

  19. Mick Herrity- The Woodland League

  20. Dwight E. Hines, IndyMedia

  21. Cory-Ann Joseph

  22. Stephen Kavanagh – Unemployed

  23. Ingo Keck – Physicist

  24. Fred Logue

  25. Angela Long – Lecturer and Researcher

  26. Lyn Mather – The Woodland League

  27. Stephen Murphy, Retired Member of the Permanent Defence Force

  28. Daragh O Brien, Data Governance Consultant

  29. Mindy O’Brien, Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE)

  30. Donal O’Brolchain

  31. Diarmuid O’Flynn, Ballyhea Says No

  32. Richard O’Halloran – Self Employed

  33. Tomás Ó Maonaile

  34. Thomas Pringle TD

  35. Pauline Sargent – Community Activist Drimnagh (

  36. Gavin Sheridan – Journalist

  37. Tommy Simpson

  38. Edward Stevenson

  39. Andrew St Ledger -The Woodland League

  40. Aine Ryall, Cork

  41. Conor Ryan, Journalist

  42. Liz Wallace



3 thoughts on “Open Letter Addressed to Minister Brendan Howlin asking to commit to dropping FOI/AIE fees as part of Ireland’s 1st OGP Action Plan”

  1. This week the letter has been updated with signatures from the Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V. and The Environmental Pillar. – Thank you for supporting the initiative.

    We are also pleased to announce that the letter was acknowledged by the Assistant Private Secretary to the Taoiseach. – Please let us know if you would still like to add your signature or know other organisations that would like to sign in the run up to the OGP Europe Regional Meeting where the Action Plan will be announced …. the current draft does not include a commitment to abolishing FOI/AIE fees.

    Date: 16 Apr 2014 17:00
    Subject: email to the Taoiseach

    Dear Mr. Parfenov

    I wish to acknowledge receipt of your email of 10 April, 2014.

    Yours sincerely,

    David King
    Assistant Private Secretary
    to the Taoiseach

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