Request for access to records held by the Data Protection Commission (the “DPC”) relating to an instruction from the DPC to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (the “Department”) to remove applicants’ names from felling site notices released by the Department in response to requests made under the AIE Regulations due to the DPC’s
concerns regarding the applicants’ right to privacy.
AIE Request, 2023/01
I wish to make this request under the AIE Regulations…
In a recent decision of the Commissioner for Environmental Information, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine submitted that the Data Protection Commissioner has previously instructed the Department to remove applicants’ names from Felling site notices as the Commissioner expressed concerns about the applicants’ rights to privacy. ( see para 32 of https://www.ocei.ie/decisions/ms-m-and-department-of-ag/index.xml )
As a preliminary point, it is worth noting that the records you have specifically requested as set out above do not exist. While this office engaged with the Department regarding the issue of personal data set out on felling notices, and provided recommendations in connection with same, it did not “instruct” the Department to take any particular course of action.
Notwithstanding the above, it is my opinion that the information that you have requested (which consists of the relevant engagement between the DPC and the Department, rather than a specific instruction from the DPC to the Department with respect to same) is not environmental information as defined by Article 3(1) of the AIE Regulations. Therefore, I do not propose to further process this request and this request is refused