Tag Archives: Freedom of Information

Justice “administered in public” and data protection

A few weeks ago, a message appeared on a Facebook journalism court from a reporter, who had just been told he would not be allowed advance notice of district court cases any more because of “data protection” issues. I was curious to learn more, so I sent in a Freedom of Information request to find out what these instructions were, and what the reasoning behind them was. An email has… Read Article →

Is there anything to be said for another Mass?

So, some of you might remember I tried to #FOI the lobbying efforts that led to a law banning foreign Mass cards undercutting Irish priests. And the Dept of Justice refused, explaining that there was a box of files, and it would take 40 hours at €20 an hour to look through the box. I had asked for all the records relating to Section 99 of the Act, and those… Read Article →

‘I am not bound by decisions made by my predecessors’ – RTE FOI

A few years ago, after reading a news story about a “dossier” sent to RTE about its political coverage by a political party, I sent in a freedom of information request, asking for “any submissions from political parties regarding partiality and bias in political reporting and commentary on RTE”. The request was initially refused, on the grounds that RTE did not have to supply information on “programme related functions”, citing… Read Article →

The Jobbridge database

The Jobbridge database [Version One] courtesy  of a Freedom of Information request. [Since the Excel XLSX file is rather large at over 14Mb, there may be problems in formatting etc. Any suggestions for improving usability gratefully received.] Version Two: Jobbridge database in Socrata (from a suggestion by Steve White)

Jobbridge and Freedom of Information

Victory of a sort…but mostly not In March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Social Protection (DSP), looking for the Jobbridge database. By July of the same year, DSP had replied with some of what I sought, but I had some problems, and so an appeals process began. My first problem was the DSP refusal to provide details of companies which had asked for… Read Article →

RTE, BAI, and the marriage referendum

In response to a letter from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland about coverage of same sex marriage, RTE politely responded that it knew how balance worked. I previously published a copy of the BAI’s letter to RTE, which I obtained from the BAI itself. Below are the letter and the official RTE response, obtained through an FOI request to RTE. Same Sex Marriage BAI to RTE 060814

Information wants to be free

Or at least, I want information to be freed. And thanks to the new Freedom of Information Act 2014, signed into law today, it just got a little more free in Ireland. Now there are a lot of caveats. Not all officialdom falls under its terms, there are exceptions for things like commercial sensitivity (which can be very broadly defined), not to mention the cost of appeals. But still, the… Read Article →

Freelance Forum: All you need to know

There are only only six days to go until Freelance Forum Autumn 2014. Have you reserved your place yet? Freelance Forum is a regular one day event designed to keep freelance journalists up to date with the latest developments in their industry. Aimed at writers and photographers, and hoping to cover print, broadcast and online, it is organised by Dublin Freelance NUJ Branch. Speakers at the Autumn 2014 Forum include… Read Article →

Who’s in Charge: FOI and the civil service

Today I wrote to the three TDs in my constituency to to express my concern at last minute changes to the Freedom of Information Act announced by Brendan Howlin on Friday. These changes, if put into law, will mean Ireland has one of the most restrictive FOI regimes in the world. Most worryingly, although only announced on Friday, these changes have been planned by the civil service for months, as… Read Article →

Data Quality

It has been some time since I’ve written here about Jobbridge, and my Freedom of Information request for a datadump of the database of Jobbridge companies and vacancies held by the department of social protection. In brief, the department released to me a broken database, because one item in the database, COMPANY_ID, a reference number which links employers to the vacancies they offered, was withheld. The department argued that as… Read Article →