Tag Archives: open government

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 →

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 →

Kildare Street: Questions for the Oireachtas

On Tuesday, the Oireachtas website changed how it operates, effectively shutting down KildareStreet.com. Simon McGarr outlines the issues here. I send an email to the Oireachtas yesterday, containing several questions as follows: Can you supply me with a statement re operation of Oireachtas debates website, and recent changes to the site which have apparently rendered it unusable by the KildareStreet.com website? Why were these changes implemented? Will information be published… Read Article →

JobBridge: The Story So Far

Back in March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to FÁS and the Department of Social Protection (DSP) seeking two items: (1) Records maintained by FÁS relating to the number of jobbridge positions accepted by participants, how many jobbridge programmes have been completed, and relating to what happened afterwards to participants. (2) Records relating to the assessment, monitoring, quality control mechanisms etc FÁS is using in relation to… Read Article →

Jobbridgers used to clear citizenship backlog

Yesterday, I received a Freedom of Information file containing (part of) the Jobbridge database. Showing it to a friend, I ran a trivial search: Who sought the greatest number of jobbridgers? Three organisations requested 30 “interns”. For now, I can only tell you one of them. Step forward, Citizenship Division, Department of Justice and Equality. Here’s Alan Shatter, speaking at a citizenship ceremony on 14 June: When the Government came… Read Article →

Justice…shall be administered in public

Overnight transcripts from the Smithwick tribunal may not be made available to the public or to the various legal teams granted representation at the inquiry into alleged Garda collusion with the Provisional IRA. “The transcripts will not be put on the internet,” counsel for the tribunal said at today’s brief public hearing. They would also not be available to his legal colleagues, he added. Legal teams for other parties at… Read Article →

Are speed camera zones about safety or revenue?

I spent Tuesday at Hacks & Hackers Hack. Organised by Scraperwiki, and sponsored by the Guardian Open Platform, NUJ Dublin Freelance Branch and Innovation Dublin, HH&H was a one day exercise uniting Hacks (journalists) and Hackers (computer coders) to extract data from public databases. Since the introduction of safety camera zones has been in the news, our group decided to look at some road safety information. Some of the data… Read Article →