Following an appeal by Pat Swords, the Commissioner for Environmental Information (detailed here) ruled that the Department of the Environment was not within its rights to charge search and retrieval fees on his request, as this was essentially contrary to the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) 2007/2011 Regulations. The Department had 8 weeks in which to appeal that decision to the High Court, if they disagreed.
The Department has confirmed to TheStory.ie that they have not pursued an appeal.
The implication is that no public authority within the AIE regime may charge for search and retrieval.
So a note to members of the public and journalists: public authorities can no longer charge for search and retrieval for AIE requests. However, such fees still apply to FOI requests.