Right to Know wins key case on access to environmental information from Data Protection Commission

Right to Know has won a case seeking access to records from the Data Protection Commission (DPC) over plans by Irish Water to charge for excessive water usage.

The case is a critical one because FOI effectively does not apply to the DPC, covering only records relating to general administration.

This means that everything relating to the investigations that the Data Protection Commission carries out is off limits for anybody trying to use Freedom of Information.

However, there is no such carve-out for the DPC from the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations.

The DPC unsuccessfully argued that the information sought was not environmental and that even if it was, it was exempt under the regulations.

In his decision, the Commissioner for Environmental Information was critical of how the request was handled by the DPC.

He found the DPC was a public authority for the purposes of requests under the AIE Regulations and that the information we sought should be released.

They now have two months to either release the information or appeal the decision to the High Court.