Up- date on the FOI from our friends over at www.thestory.ie
Access Info Europe and the Centre For Law and Democracy have called on the Irish government to abolish FOI fees entirely. In an open letter written to Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin, Helen Darbishire from Access Info and Toby Mendel from the Centre for Law and Demcoracy wrote:
Various arguments have been put forward to justify charging up-front fees simply for making requests, none of which can be justified by reference to either international standards or comparative law and practice. Charging up-front fees for information requests violates international standards. It is clearly unacceptable to charge people to exercise a fundamental right. This is reflected in the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, which expressly prohibits up-front charges for requests (Article 7(1)). Indeed, the drafters of that Convention considered and specifically rejected a request from Ireland to allow for such charges.
full article at source: http://thestory.ie/2013/11/18/international-ngos-call-for-ireland-to-abolishfoifees/
By Michael Hennigan of Finfacts
Irish Economy 2012: The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, today welcomed the publication by the Implementation Body for the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (‘Croke Park Agreement’) of its Second Annual Progress Report. He claims that €1.5bn in pay and ‘administrative efficiency’ savings have been achieved in the past two years. However, these savings are a sham. This report is a sham because of the focus on pay rather than both pay and pensions and the benchmark year selected.
There would be no savings on the pay and pensions bill by 2015 if 2006 — the peak year of the boom was the benchmark year.
- The report of activities by Ireland’s biggest employer has a long list of ‘achievements’ — not difficult in itself to produce a laundry list involving the activities of 290,000 people. Efficiencies realised from the closure of barracks: €1.3m;
- Prison Service canteen facilities: €1.4m;
- Changes in work practices and value for money initiatives in the Naval Service: €2m;
- Non pay gains in the Garda Síochána: €24m;
- Central Mental Hospital roster changes: €1m.
.. and on the list goes on all ‘savings’ on exorbitant levels.
Big issues are not addressed and this list of ‘savings’ should not be seen as the result of radical change in structures but a reality of a staff embargo and a limit from the reckless spending levels of the boom period
Full article at source: http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1024483.shtml