Documents DOJ claimed did not exist unearthed on Review 18 months later

Copyright © 2006 Kaihsu Tai

Documents which were denied under FOI by the Department of Justice on the basis they ‘did not exist’ have been unearthed upon review by the Information Commissioner nearly 18 months after the initial request.

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Luxury rugs, cars and a juicer rental: How the DFA spent taxpayer’s money in 2017

TWO rugs together costing over €6,200, a €5,000 contribution towards sculpting a bust of a former diplomat, renting a juicer for Prince Charles, and €32,500 for a luxury car were just some of the ways the Department of Foreign Affairs spent taxpayer’s money last year.

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Brexit “biggest economic threat to Ireland in a generation”, business groups warn

An FOI of all business groups’ correspondence with the Taoiseach last year reveals growing concern from various business organisations over the risk of Brexit to Irish jobs.

Over 28 letters relating to the impact of Brexit were sent from groups representing Irish business interests to the Department of the Taoiseach’s office in 2017.

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Politicians trip to Hong Kong and China cost €27,000

 

Intersection of Yee Wo Street and Hennessy Road at night, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov. Source: Wikimedia Commons

MORE than €27,000 was spent sending five politicians and three officials on a week-long trip to China and Hong Kong.

The entire delegation flew business class at a cost of at least €2,712 each and stayed in a string of five-star hotels, most of which were generously paid for by their Chinese hosts.

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Dublin City Council’s ‘Up the Dubs’ banner in breach of its own guidelines

Photo Credit: Mike O’Sullivan ‘Ha’penny Bridge’ CC BY 2.0 

A CONTROVERSIAL banner that adorned the Ha’penny Bridge has been put into permanent storage after Dublin City Council found it was in breach of its own planning guidelines. Continue reading “Dublin City Council’s ‘Up the Dubs’ banner in breach of its own guidelines”

Crackdown on unlicensed drivers will lead to driving test shortages

A CRACKDOWN on learner drivers could leave waiting times for driving tests of up to 68 weeks unless extra staff were hired, an internal briefing report warned the Department of Transport.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said plans to fine and jail motorists who give their vehicles to unaccompanied learner drivers might lead to 150,000 extra driving tests.

In a “surge planning” report, they said they anticipated a huge spike in applications that could last for between a year and eighteen months.

They also warned there could be an upsurge in failure rates with some drivers attempting their test after years without having taken lessons.

According to internal documents, there were just over 247,000 people holding provisional licences and already waiting times for a test were running at 20 to 26 weeks at some centres.

The RSA had predicted what the changes might mean given a low, medium, or high volume of new applications for a driving test.

In their “high” scenario, 118,947 people would come looking for a test while another 29,737 people would fail and need another test.

That would leave them needing 148,684 additional tests, which would lead to average waiting times of 68 weeks without any intervention.

Read the full Report below

Eoghan Murphy signed-off on full pension for ex-boss of Irish Water

THE government signed off on a €473,000 pension deal for the ex-boss of Irish Water only after consulting with the Attorney General.

Documents released under FOI have revealed how Irish Water also had to pay for external legal advice over arrangements for their former managing director to retire on full pension at age 57 and with a €100,000 severance payment.

Speaking notes prepared for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy explained that the retirement deal could not be sanctioned without sign-off from him and two other ministers.

A list of “redline issues” was prepared for Mr Murphy included an explanation of how the retirement package meant an internal pension scheme had to be amended and a new severance gratuity scheme created.

Mr Murphy was told to prepare for opposition comment suggesting he would be asked about the “extraordinary high costs involved in the establishment of Irish Water”.

The speaking notes said that the department should also be prepared for questions on whether the state would be “vulnerable to any potential legal challenges”.

The Department of Housing and Department of Public Expenditure had on several occasions refused to release documents relating to Mr Tierney’s pension.

Read the documents below.