The Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No. 2) Reform Bill 2012 received cross party support in the Dáil on Friday 6 June.
The Bill, which was introduced by Fianna Fáil deputy Seán Fleming, proposes to bring the Central Bank, NAMA, An Garda Síochána, the NTMA and other state bodies within the remit of the Freedom of Information Act 1997.
Whilst the principles in the Bill were widely commended, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Brian Hayes, noted that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, intended to bring proposals for more extensive reforms of the Freedom of Information Act before the Government in the coming weeks. It has been reported that the Cabinet agreed proposed reforms to the Act in its last meeting of the current Dáil session on 24 July 2012. These proposed reforms would see the Act applying to an even wider range of bodies in receipt of state funding, whilst acknowledging that the Act’s application to certain state bodies, such as the Central Bank, would be limited by necessity because of statutory functions which they undertake and the commercially sensitive information they deal with. In light of the proposal by the Government to address reform of the Act, the Bill’s second reading has been deferred for nine months.