Something To Hide?


From top (left): Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald; former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan; a response journalist Ken Foxe received from An Garda Siochana on foot of an FOI request

You may recall a previous post about the Communications Clinic and how it was hired by both An Garda Siochana and the Department of Justice in both 2015 and 2016.

An Garda Siochana paid the the firm €10,400  and €92,955 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The Department of Justice paid the Communications Clinic  €756 and €24,221 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The post drew attention to the fact two separate attempts made earlier this year, by journalists Ali Bracken, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Ken Foxe – to obtain details of An Garda Siochana’s hiring of the Communications Clinic, under the Freedom of Information Act – were rejected.

Specifically, Mr Foxe sought “copies of any emails between the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and PR consultant Terry Prone or the Communications Clinic during the period in which those services were provided to AGS.”

An Garda Siocana refused Mr Foxe’s request on the basis that there were no emails that were subject to FOI (see docs above).

Further to this…

Last March, Mr Foxe also sent a similar FOI request to the Department of Justice for “copies of all correspondence – both written and electronic – between the Minister Frances Fitzgerald and/or her private office and any of the following people or companies: Terry Prone and/or the Communications Clinic. “

Mr Foxe’s request was eventually refused on the basis that there were no records.

He then appealed this decision.


Mr Foxe tweeted what he wrote in his appeal and the response he got from the Department of Justice…

Via Ken Foxe

Previously: Noirin’s Prone Position

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19 thoughts on “Something To Hide?

  1. Joe

    Fitzgerald’s and Flanagan’s’ FOI answers….Please choose from either/or “Oh look, Leo has sparkly new socks” or “They haven’t gone away you know”

  2. anne

    What’s the sons name again..your man who got the boot at today fm, Wonton is it?

    Let’s hope he doesn’t threaten Mr.Foxe to take him for every oenny he’s worth. :-)

    What powers does the FOI dept have to force the guards to release the emails if they don’t believe them when they say there isn’t any? Anyone?

  3. Joe Small

    FOI requests are taken pretty seriously by most departments and, while a pain in the ass, the deadlines are real deadlines. No civil servant wants to have to respond to the Information Commissioner for screwing up. The level of the civil servant actually searching for FOI documents is usually fairly modest (HEO) but obviously missed deadlines are being tolerated by those in higher management positions.

  4. octo

    This is a non-story.
    His first request directly to an Garda turned up nothing which fell under the coverage of the FOI act.
    His second request to DoJ turned up nothing but he appealed the response. The appeals officer (whoever that is) wrote to say that the appeal was still ongoing.
    Am I missing something? Where’s the scandal and why the outrage?

    1. anne

      The information commission “is not satisfied” with the department of justice saying they have no emails to Wanton and the Ma.

      Of course they have emails. They’ll probably show up another time, when it suits.

      1. some old queen

        There is a documented state sector workflow procedure pertaining to FOI (excluding the state within the state known as CIE) where someone adjudicates as to what should be disclosed but, never any details as to how the search is carried out in the first place. An email ‘search’ could be on one or more accounts knowing fine well that it will show nothing if to/from communication was elsewhere.

        Let’s think of an email situation where someone in a private company promised something to a client which then cost a lot of money. You can be certain there would be a full real search to find out who was responsible.

        1. Cian

          Isn’t there a possibility that there wasn’t direct communication between Terry Prone and Noirin O’Sullivan that “relate to HR, or finance or procurement”.
          You don’t send you bill directly to the commissioner.
          Any ‘business’ for TP would fall outside the HR/finance/procurement.

  5. A force for justice

    Oh Stephanie Preissners old friend Terry.

    Remember Stephanie saying how sorry she felt for the commissioner & then invited her to launch her book.

  6. Mauricefedup

    These parasites in government don’t run the country the people in the departments do. In order to force change in Ireland we need to stand together to get results other wise we will still talk about this in 2019 and nothing will have changed except their pay (going up)

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