On July 6, the OPW issued a press release talking excitedly about Dublin’s green lung and how an experiment to keep the side gates of the Phoenix Park closed would continue.
In that statement, they said: “With this in mind, reducing the volume of ‘through-traffic’ is critical and maintaining safe, quiet, open spaces for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy is a key priority for us.”
A few days later, they made an about turn and decided to reopen all of the gates, except one that is being restored.
These records bring some clarity to why that decision was made.
A text message exchange between John McMahon, a senior official at the OPW, and the Private Secretary to Minister Patrick O’Donovan spells it out.
“As directed, the gates will reopen from tomorrow morning,” wrote the official. “As advised yesterday, there will be a degree of opposition to this.”
You can read the documents for yourself below:
The Office of Public Works was told that three historic structures in the Botanic Gardens were in danger of collapse and that loose glass panels in the buildings were a safety hazard to the public and staff.
The Aquatic House – a complex of three buildings in the Dublin gardens – had “significantly deteriorated” because of weather ingress, timber decay, and rusting ironwork.
An internal report said the dismal condition of the complex was in “direct contravention” of the OPW’s legal responsibilities to safeguard the buildings.
Last month, the OPW announced a €250,000 emergency project to stabilise the Aquatic House and remove all vegetation from the three structures.
They said they hoped eventually to “faithfully restore” the buildings and reopen them to the public subject to the availability of funding.
The Air Corps helicopter that lost its door after an emergency medical airlift in May had been at the centre of the exact same type of incident eleven years ago.
A preliminary report on the incident confirmed that the AgustaWestland helicopter was the very same chopper that suffered the loss of a different door over Co Kerry in 2009 while transporting then Minister Martin Cullen to an event.
The Air Aircraft Investigation Unit also declined to be involved in the investigation “given the nature of the incident”, according to the
It also details how the fourteen-year-old helicopter had originally been on its way to collect a patient for a transfer onward to Tallaght Hospital.
While en route, the National Ambulance Service requested they fly instead to the Phoenix Park for the patient to be moved to the Mater Hospital.
You can read the report in full:
Twenty two members of An Garda Síochána have been convicted of a crime over the past three and a half years.
The records – released under FOI for the first time by the Internal Affairs Section of the gardaí – detail a range of different convictions for officers.
The convictions cover drink driving, misuse of drugs, sexual crime, and an offence under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
The gardaí said details of disciplinary action taken against the convicted officers would not be released because it was “of a personal nature to the individuals involved”.
They said they needed to confidentially maintain details of its disciplinary proceedings and that this outweighed the public interest in knowing what, if any, sanction had applied to the gardaí involved.
You can see the records for yourself below:
The owners of the derelict house where teenager Ana Kriegel was murdered said delays in plans to secure the property were partly down to the “notoriety” of the site.
Internal records show how Fingal County Council repeatedly had to make contact with planning consultants for the owners of Glenwood House about their plans to secure the property and surrounding land.
They also show that plans to develop a nursing home on the site are now highly unlikely with the developers intending to seek planning permission for a different scheme.
The records were obtained from Fingal County Council after an appeal to the Information Commissioner, who decided they should be released in the public interest.
These three documents provide detail on expenditure of hundreds of millions of euro by three universities in recent years.
The UCD record is by far the largest and covers a lengthy period and some €319 million in expenditure by the college between November 2016 and March of this year.
The UCC data details €11.37 million in spending including €83,000 in payments to RTÉ, €60,000 to Cork City Football Club, and €50,000 to John Banville Limited.
Finally, records have also been provided by TU Dublin for their three campuses: in the city centre, Blanchardstown, and in Tallaght. Together, they cover €33 million in expenditure.
Right to Know is also seeking this information from other third level institutions and will continue to publish it over the coming weeks and months.
The data is available in excel format so feel free to get in touch if you want a copy sent.
More than 10% of confirmed Covid-19 cases in some parts of Dublin have resulted in the death of the infected person according to new data from the HSE.
A detailed breakdown of fatalities across the country and the Dublin area has been provided showing how in a single postcode area in the capital (Dublin 24), 88 people died.
The HSE said significant variations in the figures were often driven by serious outbreaks in a nursing home or residential care settings.
You can see the data for yourself below.
The Irish government was offered a special deal to buy two new aircraft for €8.3 million but opted to buy only one amid concerns over a shortage of pilots and available hangar space.
The new Pilatus PC-12 NG was purchased in March under special EU rules that allows normal procurement practices to be put aside in “crisis situations”.
Amongst the reasons put forward for its purchase were maintenance concerns around the government Learjet and the fact that two other Air Corps planes had amassed more flying hours than almost any comparable aircraft in the world.
Internal Department of Defence records reveal concerns were raised about how the Taoiseach, and other senior ministers would be able to leave the country at short notice given the lack of available state aircraft.
A “security sensitive” briefing note – which has been released under FOI – said emergency travel might be required arising from the Covid-19 pandemic or other “Brexit-related travel”.
The note said: “Commercial travel in the current developing situations may be unavailable, unreliable, insecure or too risky to contemplate.”
An internal report from the country’s largest maternity hospital warned that parts from an obsolete scanner could become dislodged and land on a new-born infant with “catastrophic” effect.
The fluoroscopy machine at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street has been in use since 2006 and was supposed to be replaced before it was ten years old.
However, the machine continued to be used well past its “end-of-life” causing patient transfers, cancellations, and rescheduled appointments.
An internal report – published here by Right to Know – warned of the risk of parts from it becoming dislodged due to its age.
It said: “Should this happen while an infant was being examined, the resulting injury could likely be catastrophic as these parts are generally very heavy (in the amounts of kilos).”
These are Cabinet records from the government decisions of 2011 and 2012 surrounding arrangements for ministerial transport.
In 2011, a decision was made to abolish state cars for all but the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Justice, the DPP, Chief Justice, and the President.
Other ministers would be allowed to hire garda drivers, use their own cars, and claim mileage.
A separate decision was also made that ministers would be allowed to use bus lanes against the advice of then Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
The records were obtained under FOI by Right to Know. Cabinet records are available under FOI after five years unless still considered exempt.