ExpiredAnnual Freedom of Information Conference

Dates & Times

  • 30th March 2017
    9:00 am - 1:00 pm




41-47 Fenian St,, Dublin 2, Ireland

Brochure available here: Download

Public Affairs Ireland is holding a special half-day conference on Freedom of Information in Ireland. The conference will address the updates on current developments impacting on Freedom of Information in Ireland, with the keynote address delivered by the Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.


Key themes to be addressed:

  • The impact of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 on public organisations
  • The Information Commissioners perspective on compliance with the FOI regime and identifying best practice in managing FOI requests
  • An analysis of recent decisions of the Information Commissioner and the Courts on FOI cases
  • The perspective of the Central Policy unit in DPER on the operation of FOI policy
  • Practical issues for FOI Officers concerning requests for the release of different categories of confidential information
  • FOI requests and cross border bodies
  • The requesters perspective – an analysis from a media commentator on latest trends in the operation of the FOI Act
  • Analysis of the results of a survey of FOI officers on current issues and current practices impacting on the operation of the FOI Act in Ireland



Keynote Speaker

Paschal Donohoe TD.

Paschal Donohoe is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Prior to this appointment he served, from July 2014-May 2016, as the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Paschal has also held the position as the Minister for European Affairs at the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs from July 2013-July 2014. Paschal was formerly the Chair of Ireland’s Future in Europe Oireachtas Sub-Committee, as well as a member of the Public Accounts Committee.




Garrett Fennell, Chairperson

Garrett is a solicitor and a specialist consultant in regulatory and public affairs. Garrett has advised a large number of public bodies on compliance issues and practices. Garrett is a founding Director of Public Affairs Ireland and established a specialist regulatory and public policy consultancy in 1997. He formerly worked as a public affairs consultant with the ESB.

Paul Lavery, McCann FitzGerald

Paul Lavery is the head of the McCann Fitzgerald’s Technology & Innovation Group and advises on a wide range of information technology, intellectual property, data protection, confidentiality and freedom of information issues. In the area of freedom of information, Paul regularly acts for public bodies and private entities. He advises public bodies in respect of their compliance obligations in connection with the Freedom of Information Acts in dealing with access requests, advising on applicable exemptions and dealing with appeals to the Information Commissioner.

Annette Hogan, McCann FitzGerald

Annette Hogan is a partner in the McCann Fitzgerald’s and specialises in data protection and freedom of information. Annette Hogan is a partner in the McCann Fitzgerald’s. Annette has a Masters’ Degree in Information Technology Law and advises a wide range of clients on information technology, outsourcing and intellectual property matters. Annette has particular expertise in relation to leading edge business transformation projects having drafted and negotiated the contractual framework for a number of key clients in this area. Annette also specialises in data protection, freedom of information, access to information on the environment, and confidentiality matters, as well as advising a number of high-profile technology clients on the legal implications of transacting online and related consumer protection issues.

Ken Foxe, DIT

Ken is an assistant lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology in the School of Media. He also worked as a freelance journalist and consultant specialising in Freedom of Information, data journalism, and investigative reporting. He worked for two years with the RTÉ Investigations Unit, where he helped establish the unit’s website and also worked on long-term television projects and major online data projects: (www.rte.ie/investigations). Ken is the author of two books, Snouts in the Trough: Politicians and their expenses and Revenge, a true crime book. He is a winner of TV3 Story of the Year Award for 2009 following a series of stories that led to the resignation of Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue. A long-running series of articles that same year regarding expenses led to major changes in the way politicians were paid allowances.

Daniel McConnell, The Irish Examiner

Daniel McConnell is the Political Editor of the Irish Examiner and a best-selling author. Before that, he worked for almost a decade with Independent News and Media where he was employed in a number of roles including Group Political Correspondent and Chief Reporter (Sunday Independent). He previously worked with the Irish Times and the Sunday Times. He is the current Justice Media Award daily newspaper Journalist of the year. His latest book, Hell at the Gates, which he co-authored was a number one best-seller. He previously co-authored the Sunday Times Good Schools Guide in 2006. He holds a Masters in Journalism from Dublin City University and a Bachelor of Arts degree (History and Politics) from University College Dublin.

Mary Orford, formerly ComReg

Mary Orford started her career as a librarian and worked for 21 years in both public and academic libraries. In January, 2000 she joined ComReg, (Commission for Communications Regulation) as project manager for the implementation of Freedom of Information legislation, Post implementation, Mary remained for a further 10 years as FOI Officer with responsibility for administering the FOI process, FOI decision making and delivering staff training. During her tenure in ComReg, Mary was awarded Learner of the Year in 2007 by IITD and Student of the Year, Diploma in the Management of Modern Public Service Delivery, in 2008 by Institute of Public Administration. Mary is now retired but continues to deliver FOI training with Public Affairs Ireland.

Mark Bohan, DPER

Mark Bohan represents the Government Reform Office in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Mark has responsibility for the FOI Central Policy Unit and was previously the FOI Officer in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The FOI Central Policy Unit is responsible, in consultation with public bodies and working with the FOI networks, for ensuring that the policy and legislative framework for FOI supports the effective operation of FOI in public bodies.

Frances Kiernan, DFA

Frances Kiernan, First Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has been FOI Manager for the Department since 2015. She has previously served as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Ireland to Norway and as Third Secretary at the Embassy to Belgium. She holds a Master’s in Public Management and a BA (Moderatorship) in Economics and Business Studies.

Roisin Connolly, Office of the Information Commissioner and Ombudsman

Roisin Connolly has worked as an investigator in the Office of the Information Commissioner from 1998 to 2004 and from 2012 to date. She has been involved in the conduct of reviews of decisions made by FOI bodies and in the drafting and publication of a series of guidance notes on the interpretation and application of the FOI Act by the Commissioner.