FAQs and Glossary


What is the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act is designed to give the public the right of access to records held by public bodies, to the greatest extent possible that is consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy. The Act lays out a formal requesting process, as well as emphasising that public bodies should be open and accountable as a matter of principle.

How can I access information about Trinity without making a Freedom of Information request?
A large amount of information about Trinity and its functions is publicly available without the need to make a Freedom of Information request. Those seeking information should, in the first instance, consult Trinity's FOI Publication Scheme, the University CalendarProspectuses , the Trinity Enquiries Office (enquiries@tcd.ie, 01-896-1724) , Trinity website or other publications. You may also make direct contact with staff in relevant departments - contact details can be found on the Trinity website.

How can I make a Freedom of Information Request?
Please click here for full details of how to make a Freedom of Information request to Trinity College Dublin.

Will I be charged for making a Freedom of Information Request?
Please see our FOI Legislation page for full details of fees and charges.

Can I appeal a decision made on my Freedom of Information Request?
Yes. Under the Act, the person who has requested the information has the right to appeal an FOI body's decision - firstly to a more senior staff member within the FOI body than the staff member who made the original decision (referred to as an Internal Reviewer), and then to the Office of the Information Commissioner if the decision is still not satisfactory. The Information Commissioner's decision in this instance is binding and can only be appealed to the High Court on a point of law.

As a Trinity staff member, what should I do if a Freedom of Information Request relating to me or my department is made?
The first thing to do is contact the Information Compliance Officer. Click this link for further advice on handling FOI requests.

Glossary of Terms

  • Decision-Maker - a staff member within a public body who makes decisions on FOI requests, i.e. who decides whether it is appropriate to release the requested records or not
  • Disclosure Log - a publicly-available record of the decisions made by a public body in response to FOI requests
  • Freedom of Information Act - an Act designed to give the public the right of access to records held by public bodies
  • FOI (Freedom of Information) Request - a written request made under the Freedom of Information Act, usually a request for access to certain records held by a public body
  • Information Commissioner - the Commissioner, independent of the government, who reviews the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and can issue binding decisions on appeals regarding FOI requests
  • Information Compliance Officer - in Trinity, the staff member responsible for advising the university on matters relating to Freedom of Information, Data Protection, Access to Environmental Information and Copyright
  • Publication Scheme - a catalogue of the information that a public body routinely makes publicly available
  • Public Body - an organisation that is funded by the state, in full or in large part. FOI requests can be made to most public bodies, including Trinity
  • Record - information recorded on any media, including letters, memos, emails, post-its, voice recordings...
  • Requester - the official term for a person who makes an FOI request