Tag Archives: government regulation

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

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 →

On copyright

I’ve been reading Modernising Copyright, the report of the Copyright Review Committee (CRC), and decided to put my initial thoughts down in writing. Be warned, if you’re used to the 200 word bites on here, this article is considerably longer. Colmcille As is noted to the point of fatigue in Irish writings on copyright, the Irish invented the concept, according to half-legend. Specifically, Colmcille copied a psalter, the creator of… Read Article →

Who’s in charge?

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) regulates every television and radio broadcaster in Ireland. It is a statutory body. The Irish Press Council, recognised by statute, regulates newspapers (though not all of them – papers can decide to opt in or opt out.) The Press Council also accepts web-based publications, though only one is listed on their website, An Fear Rua, which closed shop last September. But what happens if… Read Article →

The Public Interest

“Taking photographs of individuals in private places without their consent is not acceptable, unless justified by the public interest.” I’ve never been a huge fan of the Press Council. It was set up as the lesser of two evils, an industry-funded self-regulator, the greater evil being a state-sponsored regulator. Threats of new privacy laws, and the incentive of an easing in Ireland’s harsh libel regime, led to its foundation. The… Read Article →

SIPO must follow the money

Following yesterday’s report in the Irish Independent about Sinn Féin’s use of expenses to pay for party workers, both SIPO and the Oireachtas Commission are looking at the party’s finances. Readers will recall I probed the issue on several occasions last Autumn, starting with the Average Wage Question. SIPO didn’t see any reason to act at that time, although it appears they did act when the Mail on Sunday reported… Read Article →

A torrent of words

I write. As a freelance, I hold copyright on those words. “Ireland’s SOPA” wants to protect those words. But copyright already protects them. My words have been pirated a few times. The first time, articles were cut and pasted wholesale from a website and re-used. Not by a pirate website, but by an old-established company. We eventually settled for a rather handsome sum. More recently, a story I wrote was… Read Article →

Pearse Doherty and the Average Industrial Wage

Sitting in my inbox for a while now has been a letter from SIPO, along with various records of politicians’ expenses, all revolving around the issue of Sinn Fein and the “average industrial wage”. On Friday, Pearse Doherty published a set of accounts on the Donegal Daily website, which makes it time to revisit the exercise. [Pádraig Mac Lochlainn did the same thing, so I’d guess we’ll see similar disclosures… Read Article →

Below average

While I wait for Sinn Féin TDs and senators to get back to me, and consider my response to SIPO’s recent communications, a little something to tide you over if you’ve been following the “average wage” saga. Here’s a Sinn Féin press release about MPs’ expenses: “Sinn Féin MPs, like all party members who are paid a wage, receive exactly the same average industrial wage which is £356 per week,… Read Article →