Access to Information on the Environment (AIE)

07 Apr, 2020

The Decision Support Service is part of the Mental Health Commission. The Mental Health Commission welcomes requests for Access to Information on the Environment (AIE).

The European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2018 (AIE Regulations) gives you the right to access information held by the Mental Health Commission about environmental issues. These requests are for non-personal information only.

Why may I access this information?
The AIE Regulations give you the right of access to environmental information held by public authorities. The belief is that giving the general public access to this information encourages greater awareness of issues that affect the environment. When this happens, it encourages greater participation in decision-making on these matters.

What are Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) requests?
The AIE Regulations allow you access to a wide range of information. You can make a request to the Mental Health Commission for information in written, visual, electronic or any other material form from any of the following categories: 

  • The state of the elements of the environment. This includes, but is not limited to, air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components including genetically modified organisms and the interaction among these elements
  • Factors such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment
  • Measures (including administrative measures) such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to above as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements
  • Cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used for the above measures and activities
  • The state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures that may be affected by the elements of the environment
  • Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation

How do I make an Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) request?
Your request must be in writing. In making your request, you are asked to 

  • say that you are making the request under the AIE Regulations
  • provide as much detail as possible about the information you are asking for

Form
You may send this information by email or by letter. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete and send this form 

Where do I send my request?
You may send your request by post or by email. Here are the addresses:

By Post
AIE Officer,
Information Governance Unit,
Mental Health Commission,
Waterloo Exchange,
Waterloo House,
Dublin 4
D04 E5W7

By email
DPFOI@mhcirl.ie

How long does it take to receive a response?
You can expect to receive a response within one month from the day your request is received by the Mental Health Commission.

How will you send this information to me?
In making your request, you should say if you would like to receive the information by post or by email.

How much does it cost to make an Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) request?
There is no charge for making an AIE request. 

Are there any other charges?
Fees may be charged for the search, retrieval and copying of information you ask for. A charge will happen where the request is complex or requires considerable work to locate the information requested. The AIE Officer will let you know if there is a charge and you may then decide on that basis whether or not you would like to proceed with your request.

How much does it cost for search, retrieval and copying?
Fees may be charged for search, retrieval and coping the information you are asking for. With each request received, the AIE Officer follows two steps:

  • locating the area where the information is kept
  • identifying the exact information, reviewing and assembling it to be sent out

If the information you have asked for is complex or significantly large, a fee will be charged. A fee is charged only if the information is to be sent to you. In cases where charges are likely to occur, the Mental Health Commission will ask the person making the request to pay a deposit of at least 20% of the estimated cost at the beginning of the process. 

What are the current charges?
The current charges are €20 for each hour spent searching for, and retrieving, information. The charge for photocopying is €0.04 per sheet of the information to be sent to you. 

The following shows how these fees are calculated:

Hours
Less than 5 

Estimate
€100 or less

Action
No fees may be charged for search, retrieval and copying

Hours
Between 5 and 24

Estimate
€101-€500

Action
Search, retrieval and copying fees apply

Hours
Between 25 and 34

Estimate
€501-€700    

Action
No more than €500 may be charged for search, retrieval and copying

Hours
More than 35    

Estimate
More than €700    

Action
The AIE Officer will contact the requestor to ask him/her to refine or amend the request. This is done to ensure that the search, retrieval and copying fees are less than €700. If the requester does not refine or amend the request, the AIE Officer may refuse it if it is believed that it will use a disproportionate amount of the organisation’s resources to provide the information

Do I have a right to an internal review of the response?
Yes. If you are not happy with the response you are given, you may ask for an internal review to be carried out.

How do I make a request for an internal review?
In asking for an internal review, there are four steps to be followed. These are:

  • you must make your request for an internal appeal in writing
  • your request is to be sent by post or by email
  • you must address your request to the ‘AIE Internal Reviewer’ and not to the AIE Officer
  • you must make this request within one month from the date of the letter outlining the original decision

Who is the Internal Reviewer?
The Internal Reviewer is a member of staff who is more senior to the AIE Officer.

Where do I send my request for an internal review?
If you are making a request for an internal review, you may send it to one of the following addresses:

By post
AIE Internal Reviewer,
Information Governance Unit,
Mental Health Commission,
Waterloo Exchange,
Waterloo House,
Dublin 4
D04 E5W7

By email
Appeals@mhcirl.ie 

Is there a charge for an internal review?
No. There is no charge for an internal review.

Fees may, however, be charged for the search, retrieval and coping of information you are asking for. These are calculated in the same way as set out above.

When can I expect a response to my request for an internal review?
You will receive a response to the internal review within one month of the Mental Health Commission receiving your request for an internal review.

Can I appeal the decision of the Internal Reviewer?
Yes. If you are not happy with the decision of the Internal Reviewer, you may appeal to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. The Commissioner will carry out a full and independent review of the decision. You must make this appeal within one month of receiving the decision from the Internal Reviewer at the Mental Health Commission.

How do I contact the Commissioner for Environmental Information?
The Commissioner for Environmental Information may be contacted by post or by email. You may also make an appeal by following the steps set out on its webpage. The contact details are as follows:

By post
Commissioner for Environmental Information,
6 Earlsfort Terrace,
Saint Kevin’s,
Dublin 2
D02 W773

By email
info@ocei.ie 

Website
www.ocei.ie 

Is there a charge for appealing to the Commissioner for Environmental Information?
Yes. When appealing a decision, a fee of €50 is payable to the Commissioner for Environmental Information. The reduced rate for medical card holders is €15. Furthermore, if an individual not party to the original request wants to appeal a decision to release information that s/he feels will incriminate her/him, the fee is also €15.