[Sinn Fein]

1st July 1999

Sinn Fein disturbed over Freedom of Information Act

Sinn Fein Councillor Seán Crowe this morning expressed disquiet at the refusal of a fifth of requests, under the Freedom Of Information Act, by public bodies over the last 11 months. Mr. Crowe said ``Although 60% of requests have been granted, some public bodies are still refusing more than are actually being granted. The question has to be asked, Why?''

Councillor Crowe said:

``This act was put in place in order that State bodies would become transparent to the public and to allow the public to question these public bodies. Todays reports shows that some bodies and departments have shown a scant regard for the right to information.

``Ongoing secrecy and suspicion will inevitably lead to public concerns that the much heralded openness in government is a sham.

``If the Freedom of Information Act is to really work then government departments and public sector bodies must bring forward an ethos of openness and transparency.''

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