In accordance with article 12(5) of the Regulations, the Commissioner reviewed the Department's decision on the appellant's request. He found that the Department was not justified in its decision to refuse all of the appellant's request, as the draft protocols contained some environmental information on measures designed to protect the elements of the environment in the form of information on the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and procedures of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. He found that this information fell within paragraph (c) of the definition of "environmental information".
Notwithstanding this, the Commissioner considered articles 12(5)(c) and 7(3)(a), and found that it is not appropriate to require the Department to provide access to information which is publicly available and easily accessible.
He found that the remainder of the information did not fall within the definition of environmental information, as it was not information on the Aarhus Convention or the proceedings of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee.
He found that the Department's draft protocols are not measures for the purposes of paragraph (c) of the definition of environmental information set out in article 3(1). He also found that Ireland's participation in the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee proceedings is not a measure or activity for the purpose of paragraph (c).
The Commissioner annulled the Department's decision in part, insofar as it concerned environmental information on the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and procedures of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. In all other respects, he affirmed the Department's decision that the draft protocols do not contain environmental information. The Commissioner did not require the Department to make any environmental information available.