Tag Archives: Ken Foxe

Minister for Foreign Affairs with his own vehicle arrives for a cabinet meeting at Government Buildings in May

Yesterday

Via Independent,ie:

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has been given clearance to keep his State car and Garda driver.

The minister was expected to lose his car and driver after he was demoted from the Tánaiste’s Office after the new Government was formed.

A government source said Mr Coveney argued the ministry involves significant cross-border travel…

…However….

17 July 2012: Cabinet notes the review that has been carried out, the substantial savings involved, and small changes to the scheme. Note it will still only apply to Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and Minister for Justice … not the Minister for Foreign Affairs

Oh.

Documents here

Right To Know

Simon Coveney to keep Garda driver and State car (Independent.ie)

Rollingnews

From top: Former Minister for Health  Simon Harris outside a cabinet meeting last January; The first coronavirus briefings for Minister Simon Harris.

This afternoon.

Horribly optimistic.

Briefing documents in full here

Right To Know

Rollingnews

Thanks Ken

 

From top: Leinster House has extended a privacy decision by the Information Commissioner relating to pensions paid to former Taoisigh, Presidents, and Ministers to now include TDs and Senators: Ken Foxe

Do you want to know exactly how much was paid in lump sums, pensions, or termination pay to your former TD or Senator?

Ken Foxe writes:

Well, some bad news – you can no longer find out using Ireland’s hopelessly broken Freedom of Information laws:

Leinster House has decided that a decision made by the Information Commissioner relating to pensions paid to former Taoisigh, Presidents, and Ministers should now apply to TDs and Senators:

This fundamentally reverses over a decade of transparency and is the latest salvo in the slow evisceration of our Freedom of Information Act by the State. Projects – like this one I did in 2015 – will no longer be feasible.

In their decision, Leinster House have said that the public interest in knowing how/where public money is spent does not outweigh the privacy rights of former public representatives – even though this has never caused an issue for over ten years.

The Oireachtas have said they will now only provide figures in aggregate. So we can know €838,710 was paid out in pensions in March but not to whom. We are allowed know €1.56 million in lump sums were paid out this year but not who received them.

Leinster House helpfully sent me a copy of the decision in the ultimately futile case I had already taken about the pensions of officeholders. If you want to depress yourself, you can read it in full here

Right To Know

Rollingnews

COVID-19 cases according to county

Meanwhile…

COVID -19 cases according to Dublin postcode

Ken Foxe writes:

The most detailed geographic breakdown of cases in Dublin that has been made available so far by health authorities.

In the breakdown of #COVID19 cases by Dublin postal district. Dublin 15 and Dublin 24 account for around one in six cases. Up until now, this level of detail has not been made available for the county…

Data is provided by postcode via HSE and published by Right To Known the public interest…

Right To Know

*Some patient addresses reflect the location of their residential care facility.
**This total does not include cases who had an address outside of Ireland and those who had an incomplete address recorded.

From top: Protest at The Skellig Star Hotel  on Monday evening; Ken Foxe

This afternoon.

In March, a confirmed Covid-19 case was recorded at the Travelodge in Swords, Dublin before a number of asylum seekers were moved out of the hotel to Direct Provision centres, including Skellig Star Hotel, Cahersiveen, County Kerry.

At least 25 residents of the Skellig Star Hotel have tested positive for Covid-19.

Journalist Ken Foxe has obtained – under FOI – a timeline of events contained in minutes of meetings of the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) revealing how the Department of Justice and Equality responded to the unfolding scandal…

Last Night: “I Have Verifiable Evidence”


At a Cabinet Subcommittee on Covid-19 are from left:  Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Health Simon Harris and Chief Medical Officer of the HSE Dr Tony Holohan; Ken Foxe

The Department of Health has refused to release copies of briefings and submissions for Minister Simon Harris relating to the spread of coronavirus.

The Department has said “the public interest would be best served by refusal of these records at this time”.

Separately, the HSE is also refusing to release a copy of the “draft unsigned agreement” between themselves and the operators of private hospitals.

Ken Foxe writes:

Access to that record has been refused under five different sections of the FOI Act: Section 29 on deliberations, Section 30 on functions and negotiations, Section 31, Section 35 on information obtained in confidence, and Section 36 on commercial sensitivity:

Section 29 has been invoked on the basis that the agreement is still under deliberation. Release of it could “impact negatively on the integrity” of that:

Section 30 has been invoked because the record is the subject of ongoing negotiations. Release of the record could be expected to disclose negotiating positions:

Section 35 and 36 have been invoked because the record contains “confidential information” and because they consider it to be commercially sensitive:

The HSE said that the public interest would not be served by release of the record. They said it would place them at a disadvantage in “its efforts to maximise its use of public funds and its capacity in response to the Covid-19 public health emergency”

For good measure, they also invoked Section 31 saying agreement was subject of confidential communications for the purposes of obtaining legal advice. They believe the record is “subject to legal professional privilege”. No public interest test is required for this exemption:

We suggested that the Dept/HSE could simply publish these records to their websites and we would be happy to withdraw our requests. That hasn’t happened and both will now go for internal review.

Good times.

Right To Know

Ken Foxe

Do you want to make an FOI request?

Don’t know where to start.

Let a true expert show you how.

Journalist, academic and decorated Freedom of Information veteran Ken Foxe writes:

My new improved beginner’s guide to Freedom of Information is here (at link below)..

Now includes contact addresses for all government departments, county councils & various other public bodies.

If you use the guide & find it helpful, please support me in keeping it up to date.

The Absolute beginners Guide To Freedom Of Information (Ken Foxe)

FOI Beginner’s Guide (Gofundme)

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Former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton with former Fianna Fail Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and former Fianna Fail Taoiseach Brian Cowenat a Brexit conference in Dublin in 2018

This morning.

Right to Know CLG and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Right To Know)

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Yesterday.

Good times.

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

Freedom of Information sleuth, journalist with Right To Know and Noteworthy Ken Foxe tweetz:

Termination pay for TDs who lost their seats or didn’t run again in the last general election.

All told, around €586,000 in payments in termination lump sums and termination pay. This doesn’t include pensions, which haven’t kicked in yet.

Termination pay is payable for up to twelve months depending on how long a politician has served in the Oireachtas.

It’s calculated at 75% of salary in the beginning, falling to 50% after a certain amount of time.

Good times.

Here’s exactly how it works:

The figures were provided by the Houses of the Oireachtas in response to a Freedom of Information request from Right To Know.

It’s open to TDs to gift all or part of the payment back to the state. Such details aren’t provided under FOI and are considered personal information.

Jaykers.

Ken Foxe

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny (second left) and former Minister for Finance Michael Noonan (right) and  Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottle (second right) and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Coca Cola Company, Neville Isdel in Barbados on June 20, 2019

Well for some.

Meanwhile…

Um.

Meanwhile…

Gulp.

Public trust and consultation critical (Barbados Today, June 20, 2019)

Right To Know

Ken Foxe