Tag Archives: Leinster House

Senator David Norris looked for bigger office in Leinster House because he was longest serving politician there

A BIGGER space for the “father of the House”, a Senator’s files and personal belongings packed up and moved to reception, and a dispute between Fine Gael and the President’s daughter over vacating a room … just some of the teething problems in Leinster House after the general election. Details of the moves were released […]

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Private Papers update: Information Commissioner refuses to re-examine his decision on keeping political expenses secret

The saga of politicians, their expenses and whether they should be considered “private papers” has been rumbling on for almost two years now. Unfortunately, the battle to have the receipts and invoices of TDs and Senators made public has hit another brick wall and the Information Commissioner has said he will not reconsider his original decision. Despite what […]

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The scourge of politicians and their “private papers”

ONE of the most common criticisms politicians have of journalists is that they are obsessed with TD’s expenses and government waste. Quite aside from the fact that this obsession is in the public interest, there is actually another much more practical aspect to it. Ireland’s Freedom of Information law is severely limited, containing a raft of […]

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How long did it take to change the rules to keep political expenses secret? All of seventeen seconds

There was an interesting discussion on Broadsheet following my last post on the battle to bring the expense claims of TDs and Senators out into the open. You can read a selection of the comments here One of the things on which questions were raised was this idea that something could be “quietly” introduced in the Dáil, without […]

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Irish politicians introduced a “new protection” which stops their expense claims being made public

First, the bad news. An appeal to get access to the invoices and receipts used by TDs and Senators for claiming their expenses has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been unsuccessful. In their internal review, the Oireachtas has upheld their original decision that these documents are “private papers” and therefore exempt from Freedom of Information legislation. They have also pointed out […]

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Ending the secrecy that surrounds political expenses in Ireland – the battle resumes

Some of you will recall my efforts to get access to the invoices and receipts submitted by TDs and Senators as part of their expense claims. I’ve written previously on this, and how these invoices and receipts are now being classified as the “private papers” of politicians, and therefore exempt from Freedom of Information legislation. […]

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Ex-Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett approved €11k in overnight expenses for driver to travel to Dublin to bring him on short commute from Killiney to Leinster House

A personal driver for Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett ended up being paid more than €10,000 in overnight expenses last year because he travelled from his home in the South East to bring the Ceann Comhairle on a nine-mile journey to Leinster House. Dominic Hearns, a former garda, was able to claim the overnight expenses as he […]

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The cost of Freedom of Information?

We often hear about the cost of Freedom of Information, the large burden it places on public bodies, and the small armies of civil servants who struggle to deal with nuisance requests from pesky reporters. What we hear less about – because media often will not trumpet the work of other media – is the […]

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Political Expenses and Data Journalism

This is a presentation I gave in RTÉ late last year to the Hacks/Hackers group about building databases of political expenses and the challenges of trying to put all of that material together in one place for the first time. You can see the slides here These were the key challenges faced with such a […]

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New FOI Act added “significant protection” from scrutiny for expense claims by TDs and Senators

Over a year ago now, I submitted an FOI request to the Houses of the Oireachtas as part of a project I was working on in the RTÉ Investigations Unit called No Expenses Spared. This FOI request was very specific, looking for copies of invoices and receipts submitted by the small group of TDs and […]

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