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Emily O'Reilly Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Gardaí and banks should be more transparent - Ombudsman

Emily O’Reilly said the gardaí, Nama and State-owned financial institutions should all be made subject to Freedom of Information laws.

THE GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN has called for more transparency in State organisations, including the gardaí and Nama.

Emily O’Reilly said Freedom of Information laws should extend to areas which are currently beyond public scrutiny.

She suggested that State-owned financial institutions should also be brought into the legislation, which allows members of the public to request documents and records.

O’Reilly said the Government was currently “moving ahead” with legislation to extend the FOI scheme, but she was not sure how far the changes would go. She told RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show:

For me the litmus test will be whether the gardaí will be brought in under FOI. The police have been under FOI in the UK since it came in in 2005. And also organisations that are frequently dealt with on your programme – Nama, the NTMA, the financial institutions.

She acknowledged Nama’s claims that commercial sensitivities made it difficult to release information publicly, but said: “I think we the people deserve to know what this organisation which is dealing with billions is doing.”

The Freedom of Information Act came into force in Ireland in 1998. However, it was then amended in 2003 to introduce fees for making FOI requests.

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