Information wants to be free

Or at least, I want information to be freed. And thanks to the new Freedom of Information Act 2014, signed into law today, it just got a little more free in Ireland.

Now there are a lot of caveats. Not all officialdom falls under its terms, there are exceptions for things like commercial sensitivity (which can be very broadly defined), not to mention the cost of appeals.

But still, the 2014 Act is an improvement on the regime it replaces.

So suddenly there’s a wealth of information at my fingertips, if only I knew what to ask for.

Over the years, in piecemeal fashion, journalists have successfully sought information on a great number of topics, but not in a structured manner. A local reporter in Donegal might have asked a question of the local council, but no one has ever gone through every council in Ireland seeking the same information. Or a journalist sought particular databases from one government department, or one quango, but not all of them.

So here’s my question: What old FOI requests could be applied more broadly? Feel free to leave your answers below, or if you prefer, drop me a line at


By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.