How to Request your Personal Information
Your right to access information
You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. This is known as a Subject Access Request. This right, the right of access by the data subject, is set out in Art 15 of the GDPR, as follows:
The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning him or her are being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal data and the following information:
(a) the purposes of the processing;
(b) the categories of personal data concerned;
(c) the recipients or categories of recipient to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed, in particular recipients in third countries or international organisations;
(d) where possible, the envisaged period for which the personal data will be stored, or, if not possible, the criteria used to determine that period;
(e) the existence of the right to request from the controller rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing of personal data concerning the data subject or to object to such processing;
(f) the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority;
(g) where the personal data are not collected from the data subject, any available information as to their source;
(h) the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling, and, at least in those cases, meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and the envisaged consequences of such processing for the data subject.
Make a Subject Access Request
To access a copy of the personal data held by the Department, in relation to you, please complete the Subject Access Request Application Form.
The completed form, along with photographic identification (copy of Irish Driving Licence/Learner’s Permit OR copy of Irish Public Services Card OR copy of Passport) and proof of address in the form of a copy of a recent utility bill, bank statement, or official correspondence such as from the Revenue Commissioners, or Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, should be sent to email@example.com.
Requests may be made, via post, by sending the completed application form and I.D. to:
Data Protection Unit,
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage,
Please note that the Department will be unable to commence processing your request, or provide you with any information about your personal data, if it is not fully satisfied as to your identity. This is in order to ensure that personal data is not accidentally disclosed to the wrong person.
When will you receive a reply?
A response will be issued to you as soon as possible and at the latest within one month of receipt of a valid request.
Where a request is received without verifiable identification, or where there is a concern as to the validity of the identification, the time limit for response will not commence until the Department has verified the identification of the individual making the request.
Where requests are complex or numerous, the Department may extend the period of compliance by a further two months. If this is the case, the Department will inform you within one month of the receipt of the request, and explain why the extension is necessary.
Is there a charge for Subject Access Requests?
Subject Access Requests are free of charge. However, the Department may charge a ‘reasonable fee’ when a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive. The Department may also charge a reasonable fee to comply with requests for further copies of the same information. The fees must be based on the administrative cost of providing the information, and you will be advised if these apply.
Are there any reasons for refusing to release personal data?
Organisations have some grounds for refusing to grant an access request.
- Where a request is deemed manifestly unfounded or excessive, it can be refused.
- There are certain circumstances in which your right to see your personal records can be limited. This is necessary in order to strike a balance between the rights of the individual, on the one hand, and some important needs of civil society, on the other hand. For example, the GDPR gives Member States discretion to restrict, by way of legislative measure, the scope of individuals' rights, including the right of access, where such restriction is necessary and proportionate to safeguard:
- National security;
- Public security;
- Prevention, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences;
- Public interest objectives of EU or Member State law;
- Protection of judicial proceedings;
- Prevention, investigation or prosecution of breaches of ethics;
- Regulatory function connected with the exercise of official authority;
- The protection of the data subject; or
- The enforcement of civil law claims
What can you do if you are unhappy with a decision on your access request?
The Department maintains a complaints process whereby data subjects can contact the Data Protection Officer. The Data Protection Officer will work with the data subject to try to bring the complaint to a satisfactory conclusion for both parties.
It is also open to you to make a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner (www.dataprotection.ie ).