An Irish move is afoot to abolish fees for documents requested and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Seamus Dooley, the Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, suggested the policy change to the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform in Oireachtas, according to a story in The Irish Times. Committee officials were also considering whether to overturn 2003 revisions to Freedom of Information Act laws regarding exemptions; the new proposal is to only exempt government documents from public scrutiny for a period of five years, rather than 10.
"The current charge structure is a disincentive" to request documents, said Mr. Dooley, of FOI fees.
The Irish push for access comes in sharp contrast to recent criticisms of Obama administration secrecy. Just Wednesday, The Washington Times' Susan Crabtree reported that watchdog groups are upset with Mr. Obama for violating his vow to lead the "most open and transparent administration in history." House Oversight and Government Reform Committee officials are seeking explanation, too, and have sent a letter to the Department of Justice expressing dissatisfaction with the Obama administration's response to certain FOIA requests, the report continues.
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