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Monday, 20 November 2017

Terence Flanagan TD claims his office can submit parliamentary questions without his knowledge

During a response to a thejournal.ie report on his using the Dail to target a water protestor Terence Flanagan TD claims his office can submit parliamentary questions without his knowledge. Fair play to thejournal reporting this core story but I don't think his answer deserved another report.

A TD used a Dáil question to ask if a water meter protester would have their dole cut TheJournal.ie Jun 28th 2014 Hugh O'Connell

A TD USED a parliamentary question to ask if the Department of Social Protection cuts the dole of people protesting against the government and specifically those involved in recent demonstrations against the installation of water meters.

Flanagan told this website that he did not have a vendetta against anyone,that his office – and not himself – had tabled the question and provided the information on behalf of an elderly constituent

Flanagan said he did not table the question himself, saying: “I didn’t table that personally myself, my office would have tabled that, they would have received that on behalf of a constituent who made a complaint.”

He seems to be suggesting his assistant submitted a question without his full knowledge and approval.

Here is the questions

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding social welfare payments (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter
Social Welfare Fraud Investigations Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protectionif the social media pages of those social welfare payment recipients who are under investigation for benefit fraud or regarding concerns that they are not actively seeking work are regularly monitored by benefit fraud inspectors to assist with any investigations against them; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

His name is right there on the question, are thejournals paraphrased quotes fair and accurate?, if so is he trying to pass off his responsibilty and privilege to ask parliamentary questions to his poltical staff, the PQ was a follow up to a series of questions he asked in March Search for fraud speaker:Terence Flanagan (KildareStreet.com) were these also tabled by his office without his full knowledge and approval?

Previous cases where he asked about a specific person, indicated by the use of (details supplied). in 2011

Fines Administration: Terence Flangan PQ 27 May 2014

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Clann Ireland is Matt O'Connor

Clann Ireland is Matt O'Connor most known for Fathers 4 Justice an Irish/English "fathers rights" activist.


I hadn't heard of Clann Ireland but it had a lot of tweets so I reckoned the account had been used under a different name, so I searched and found tweet related to an ice-cream company Federici Gelato as far back as 2013. It was a branding/promotional exercise by media agency Agitator co-run by Matt O'Connor.

He has also tweeted Fathers 4 Justice messages from this account.



He set up another front United4Justice trying to use the langauge of social justice to continue his fathers for Justice campaign.

Russia did not invent anti-European sentiment or invent people appearing to support Trump or some other divisive cause.

So its not a Russia bot.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Life v Work

Why does it seem like life must revolve around work.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

If genuine news orgs don't address or correct their mistakes then they are fake news.

The definition of fakes news is organisations that knowingly publish fake stories. If genuine news organisations are made aware of mistakes and don't correct them then they too can be categorised as fake news.

Here are examples.

Irish Times. Irish Times parrot Patrick O'Donovan's false claim. They have refused to correct it even though I pointed it out to an editor.

As for their columnists, clearly nobody else in the IT reads the columns before they are published eg. I still don't know where Una Mullally got that quote she based her opinion column re FF Gender Quotas on.


Noel Whelan: John Halligan is not cut out to be a Minister Fri, Nov 10, 2017 Noel Whelan.

Halligan is not alone in the history of ministers of state being insignificant in their department, but he is a striking modern example. He doesn’t have any legally delegated function. Like other Ministers of State he sometimes get to handle sections of legislation through the Oireachtas to answer a couple of questions.

A quick search of the Irish Statute Book shows Statutory Instruments Delegating functions to John Halligan. Despite Noel Whelan being opinion columnist there is plenty of statements of fact in his pieces that should be checked.

Independent.

Irishwoman claims second London attacker was also in Ireland
She met the two London Bridge terrorists Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane on at least 20 occasions both here and in the UK, she said.

The Irish Times a has longer video and expliclty reports that she did not know 'did not know Redouane'.

In the Independent video the reporter ask her if she met them (the London bombers) and she replies she met them on many occasions here and in the UK, but as you see in both the videos she never explicitly says she met Redouane. In the main press conference shown on the Irish Times video she talks of meeting Butt and Chourdry many times (rather then Butt and Redouane).

I contacted the Independent journalist and she refused to acknowledge the possibilty she made a mistake. I also emailed the paper with no response.

The Irish Examiner made a similar mistake to the Indo, including Redoune in her claims, even though she was not refering to him, it was changed, later that day, online, "She claimed she saw him in Ireland “two or three times” and that he, Redouane, and other extremists operated out of a house in the Santry". Can't find the corrected story.

Sunday Business Post example: SBP reported that Ceann Comharile has asked a former secretary general of Department of Agriculture Michael Dowling to review legislation system. Dail Calls Kerry Group Chair to Break Logjam Michael Brennan May 2017. I emailed the Ceann Comahairle offices they said they never heard of him. I told that to the reporter and the article was just deleted not corrected or clarified.

Attorney general called in to rule on hiring of special advisers Hugh O'Connell Oct 22, 2017.
Now The Sunday Business Post has learned that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has asked the AG to advise on whether the law for appointing advisers, the Public Service Management Act 2007, allows the cabinet to make orders with retrospective effect.

There is no "Public Service Management Act 2007" there is a "Public Service Management Act 1997" which matches what he is writing about. I searched for "Public Service Management Act 2007" and up came 3 government circulars that refer to a 2007 Act, but that doesn't mean it exists.

Corrected November 16 2017, took 3 weeks and many emails.

Irish Examiner example. Open letter to Irish Examiner about their “Irish slaves” disinformation by Liam Hogan. (Article removed without explanation).

Aodhan O Faolain Reinstate48 and the €30,000 worth of Posters?

Saturday, 15 April 2017

What happened to the state boards published skill matrix

re state boards, what happened to the published skill matrix?

National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery: Summary of Reform Proposals 2012

Appointments by the Minister to the boards to draw on an independent assessment process, based on a published skills matrix to be drawn up by the Minister and managed through the Public Appointments Service.

Governance of Cultural Institutions 26 March 2013

Speech by Minister Jimmy Deenihan
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

To ensure that appointments by the Minister of the day to these boards will have regard to an independent assessment process, based on a skills matrix to be drawn up by the Minister and managed through the Public Appointments Service;

Report of the Joint Committee on the general scheme of the national cultural institutions (National Concert Hall) bill 2014
7.17 Head 17 – Board of the Hall

(2) All appointments by the Minister shall have regard to an independent assessment process, based on a published skills matrix to be drawn up by the Minister, and managed by the Public Appointments Service.
National Cultural Institutions (National Concert Hall) Bill 2014: Discussion
Mr. Niall Ó Donnchú: (assistant secretary)
Head 17(2) states that all appointments by the Minister shall have regard to an independent assessment process based on a published skills matrix to be drawn up by the Minister and managed by the Public Appointments Service.

National Cultural Institutions (National Concert Hall) Act 2015

National Cultural Institutions (National Concert Hall) Bill 2015 Enacted as 10/12/2015

Board of NCH
10. (1) The NCH shall have a Board consisting of a chairperson and 8 ordinary members
appointed by the Minister.
(2) (a) The chairperson and ordinary members of the Board shall be appointed by the
Minister, from among persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, have experience of,
and expertise in matters connected to music, dance, the arts, finance, business,
administration, marketing, fundraising, philanthropy, corporate governance,
human resources or venue management.
(b) When making an appointment under paragraph (a) the Minister shall consult the
chairperson of the Board in relation to the expertise that is required on the Board.
Board of NCH
10. (1) The NCH shall have a Board consisting of a chairperson and 8 ordinary members
appointed by the Minister.
(2) (a) The chairperson and ordinary members of the Board shall be appointed by the
Minister, from among persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, have experience of,
and expertise in matters connected to music, dance, the arts, finance, business,
administration, marketing, fundraising, philanthropy, corporate governance,
human resources or venue management.
(b) When making an appointment under paragraph (a) the Minister shall consult the
chairperson of the Board in relation to the expertise that is required on the Board.


What happened to the published skill matrix?

I asked the Minister/department this questionand replied that recent advertisements had skill profiles. Which you can see here

Irish_Museum_of_Modern_Art_Information_Booklet.pdf

National_Concert_Hall_Information_Booklet.pdf

National_Gallery_of_Ireland_Information_Booklet.pdf

Crawford_Gallery_Information_Booklet.pdf

Although these call for expression of interest advertise vacancies for most of the boards seats its not for all of them.

I didn't think listing the skills that are being sought for the vacancies being advertised is a skill matrix, a skill matrix is listing the skills requirements of the entire board, and showing where there may be skill gaps.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Irish Times parrot Patrick O'Donovan's false claim

Patrick O'Donovan is whining that he hasn't been delegated any ministerial functions by Minister Ross in the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport and the Irish Times repeated his claims without checking.

Minister in state as Shane Ross fails to delegate functions - Irish Times Mar 11, 2017 by Sarah Bardon

Correspondence released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act shows that Mr O’Donovan told Mr Ross the refusal to delegate functions is causing “confusion” within the department and asked for it to be urgently addressed, claiming he is the only Minister of State to be in this position.
His key claim seems to be wrong, he says that he is the only Minister of State not to have been delegated functions but afaik Eoghan Murhpy has not been either, other wise it would appear here Irish Statute Book

Isn't it strange how the Sarah Bardon of the Irish Times made the same claim a few weeks before.

Ross drink-driving crackdown to be blocked by Fianna Fáil
Feb 22, 2017, 01:00 Sarah Bardon
Mr O’Donovan is the only Minister of State not to have delegated powers
I complained to the readersrep and editor of the Irish Times and they tried to prevaricate by saying they were waiting for a reply from the Finance Department about what powers had been assigned to MOS Eoghan Muprhy, but they didn't need to ask the Department of Finance just look for the Statutory Instruments, delegated powers has a specific meaning, it does not mean assignment of areas of responsibilities as suggested by Irish Times editor Eoin McVey in his reply to me, because Patrick O'Donovan has already been assigned areas of responsibilty see Dail Question 14 February 2017. If the sentence isn't true it should be corrected.
A spokeswoman for Mr Ross said... said there was no precedent in the department to delegate functions, pointing to a similar situation between former minister for transport Paschal Donohoe and minister of state Michael Ring.
This is correct, you can search all Statutory Instruments related to delegated of functions on the OPAC library.

Ministerial Responsibilty for An Post and Broadband. Media reports claims not facts.


re Ring offloads management of rural post offices to Naughten Mar 29, 2017, 01:00 Pat Leahy

junior minister Michael Ring has offloaded a political headache: responsibility for the post office network is to be transferred back to the Department of Communications.
This reverses a move last summer which saw responsibility for the network move from the Independent Roscommon TD’s Department of Communications to the Mayo Fine Gael TD’s Department of Rural Affairs.

What is the documented basis for this sentence?

Listen to Michael Ring 'I never had statutory responsibility for An Post' RTÉ - Today with Sean O'Rourke .mp3

These are the only relevant statutory instruments S.I. No. 376/2016 - Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order 2016.
SCHEDULE


Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtainais (CLÁR) Programme

Rural Development Fund

Rural Recreation

Tidy Towns

Walks Scheme
Rural affairs and social enterprise (transfer of departmental administration and ministerial functions) order 2016
SCHEDULE


Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtainais (CLÁR) Programme

LEADER — Rural Development Programme 2007-2013

LEADER — Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

Rural Development Fund

Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) Scheme

Rural Recreation

Tidy Towns

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

Walks Scheme
I don't see where it specifies that responsibility for the post office network was never not under the Department of Communications. Rural Development Fund at a stretch?

also Food and drug delivery could be among post office services by Mar 23, 2017 Sarah Bardon
However, Mr Naughten has insisted it was the role of Mr Ring and said he had transferred powers to the Fine Gael TD in July.
A spokeswoman for the senior Minister said: “A Cabinet decision was taken in July to transfer the post-office network and broadband to Mr Ring.
“If Mr Ring and the Department of Arts want to reverse that decision, a Cabinet memo will be required.”

What is the documented basis for this paragraph? Surely its their job to seek out the truth rather the just repeating claim and counter claim.

Ministers face off in high-speed broadband battle Stephen O’Brien April 9 2017
Heather Humphreys, the minister for rural and regional affairs, is resisting a move by communications minister Denis Naughten to bring responsibility for rural broadband back to the Department of Communications.
Enda Kenny, the taoiseach, gave Humphreys’ department partial responsibility for both last year, in an effort to put a political focus on rural Ireland through a single cabinet portfolio. But Michael Ring, a junior minister at Humphreys’ department, handed back responsibility for the postal network to the Department of Communications last month after he completed a report on how post offices could be developed as rural community hubs.

Where is the documents to back this up? finally the Independent directly quotes the government decision, but how is to be implemented.

Bickering ministers are branded 'childish' in row over future of post offices Indepedent.ie Kevin Doyle April 11 2017
The Irish Independent understands the An Post row dates back to a Government memo dated July 19, 2016 which "transferred responsibility for the post office network from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs".

Estimates for Public Services 2016
Vote 33 - Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Revised)
I would like to set out my responsibilities in the Department. They include national rural development schemes, including rural recreation, the rural walks scheme, the rural development fund and the CLÁR programme. Also under my remit are the national parks and nature reserves, the development of the Atlantic economic corridor, reinforcing the role of the Western Development Commission, dormant accounts measures, tidy towns, social enterprise and the development of the rural post office network. I will assist the Minister in the rolling out of rural broadband in Connacht.
Departmental Functions Dáil debates Wednesday, 1 June 2016
The broadband provision and rural post offices functions will be done very shortly, and probably the following week, but the transfer of the rural affairs functions will definitely be done next week.

but were they?

Departmental Staff Redeployment Dáil debates 6 July 2016
Two members of staff have also already transferred to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, one from the Post Office Network section, and one from the Rural Broadband section.
Miniserial briefing 2016 June 2016 Change of government department briefing pre re-organisation.
Dept of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Organisation Chart
Rural Broadband & Post OfficesPrincipal OfficerStjohn O’Connor (S)
Date: Jan 2017
Stjohn O'Connor
Principal Officer
Company Name Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Dates Employed Jun 2016 – Present

how many staff do you need to implementation decision on future of Post Office Network? how many do they have?

Minister Ring establishes Post Office Hub Working Group 27th July 2016 Merrionstreet.ie

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Departmental Functions Written answers Thursday, 16 June 2016
Denis Naughten Minsiter for Communications :As part of the re-configuration of Government Departments, responsibility for certain elements of the National Broadband Plan and the post office network will transfer to the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht.
but did they?
In so far as the post office network is concerned, the implementation of the Final Report of the Post Office Network Business Development Group will be managed by the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht. Oversight of An Post as a corporate entity remains with my Department.
"implementation" how is that dones statutorily?
With regard to state agencies and bodies, my Department will assume responsibility for the Environmental Protection Agency as part of the transfer of environment functions from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. I also have responsibility for the following State agencies and bodies:

- An Post

- Commission for Communications Regulation
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Departmental Functions Written answers Tuesday, 7 March 2017
In addition sections dealing with the the rollout of rural broadband and supporting the rural post office network transferred to my Department from the former Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Statement of Strategy 2016-2019
The high-level policy objectives for our new Regional and Rural Affairs function are:
to facilitate the roll out of rural broadband in conjunction with the Local Authorities and implement the report of the Post Office Network Business Development Group.
Our Mission Support the Post Office Network in adapting to a changing business environment by developing relevant services to rural communities;
Prepare rural communities for the roll out of broadband across rural Ireland;
Appendix 2 – Commitments relevant to the Department in the Programme for Government
The new Government will act swiftly on the recommendations of the Post Office Business Development Group by supporting the introduction and rollout, by An Post, of an “ePayment Account” in 2016, to enhance post office activity in financial services and increase footfall.
We will also advance a new model of 'community banking' by requesting An Post and the League of Credit Unions, as well as any other interested stakeholders, to investigate and propose a new model of community banking that provides a suite of banking services through the large network of Post Offices. This could be based on the Kiwibank model in New Zealand, where the Post Office owned bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial services, from personal loans and bank accounts to credit cards, business banking, and insurance. We will thoroughly investigate the German Sparkassen model for the development of local public banks that operate within well-defined regions
The new Government will also establish the feasibility of offering motor tax services and other State services in post offices.
We will establish a working group to identify the potential for local post offices to act as 'hubs' to facilitate other services such as health and transport and a one-stop-shop for Government services.
We will also support the establishment of a post office network renewal process to build on An Post's existing 5-year strategy for the network.
Commitments
Led by other Departments to which we will contribute: The making of Social Protection payments at Post Offices.
Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs - Rural - Post Office Network
Post Office Network & Broadband Implementation Unit
The programme for Government commits to acting on all of the recommendations of the final report, including supporting the implementation of a basic payment account and enabling the payment of motor tax through the post office network.
The programme for Partnership Government
F) Post Offices & Community Banking
We acknowledge the renewal of the Department of Social Protection’s contract for cash social welfare payments at post offices, which is worth €54million, with over 38 million social welfare payments being made in post offices throughout the country. We will actively encourage payments at Post Offices. The new Government will act swiftly on the recommendations of the Post Office Business Development Group by supporting the introduction and rollout, by An Post, of an “ePayment Account” in 2016, to enhance post office activity in financial services and increase footfall.

We will also advance a new model of ‘community banking’...

The new Government will also establish the feasibility of offering motor tax services and other State services in post offices. We will establish a working group to identify the potential for local post offices to act as 'hubs' to facilitate other services such as health and transport and a one-stop-shop for Government services.
We will also support the establishment of a post office network renewal process to build on An Post's existing 5-year strategy for the network.
Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs on whodoeswhat.gov.ie
Regional Development and Rural Affairs

The main goal of the Department’s Regional and Rural Division is to promote and facilitate long-term sustainable economic and social progress across rural Ireland. To that end, the Department will work with stakeholders in the coming period to develop a Strategy which will include a Rural Action Plan to advance economic and social progress in rural Ireland. Other key actions include the implementation of the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the delivery of a range of other schemes, including a Rural Recreation Scheme, the Rural Walks Scheme, a Town and Village Enhancement scheme and the CLÁR Programme. The development of the Post Office network and preparing for the timely roll-out of broadband are also key priorities.
Rural Broadband and Post Offices
Division: Rural Broadband and Post Offices
Grade: Principal Officer
E-mail: stjohn.oconnor@ahg.gov.ie

Responsibilities

StJohn O'Connor is the Principal Officer with responsibility for the development of the Post Office network and preparing for the timely roll-out of broadband.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment Post Office Network: Discussion 17 January 2017 Dr. Stjohn O'Connor, principal officer.
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Statement of Strategy 2015- 2017 Statement of Strategy 2016- 2019
High Level Objective 3 Postal
To ensure Irish customers, both business and residential, enjoy competitively priced, high quality postal services on a par with the highest quality standards in key comparator EU economies.
The postal sector as a whole is facing significant change as a result of the growth of the Digital economy. Postal volumes are experiencing long term structural decline with the associated impact on the An Post financial position and its capacity to continue to deliver its universal service obligation. On the other hand, the growth of online business has provided new opportunities for the logistics industry.
Managing the scale of the challenge facing An Post will require a focus on innovation and new business models by the company and oversight of the shareholding Departments working with NewERA. In addition, the regulatory framework set out in the Postal Services Act, 2011 will be reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
The post office network is also facing significant challenges. The Report of the Post Office Network Business Development Group sets out a number of recommendations to assist the post office network as it prepares to address the changing demands of the postal market. Responsibility for implementation of the Report has transferred to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Strategy
Work to ensure An Post remains a strong and viable company, providing a high quality nationwide postal service and availing of commercial opportunities to leverage its asset base and to diversify.

Organisation Chart Corporate Governance, Postal Principal Officer Barbara Leeson
Responsible for the corporate governance of the commercial, non-commercial and regulatory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department and matters related to postal policy.
Postal Division
Communications
The Postal Division develops policies that ensure Irish customers, both business and residential, enjoy competitively priced, high-quality postal services. This division is managed under Governance and Operation.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (2007–16)
Postal Division
The key role of the Postal Division is to develop and maintain an effective policy for the Irish postal sector and to ensure Irish customers, both business and residential, enjoy competitively priced, high quality postal services.

The Division also has corporate governance functions in respect of An Post.

department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Post Office Network Tuesday, 7 March 2017
The implementation of any of the recommendations or proposals which have emerged from this process will require the agreement and input of An Post.

The actions will be monitored on an ongoing basis by my Department through its direct engagement in the delivery of the relevant measures, as well as through the processes which are being put in place to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan for Rural Development as a whole. A Monitoring Committee, which will be chaired by Minister Humphreys, will meet regularly to monitor the progress of each of the actions in the Plan. The Committee will include the key stakeholders from relevant public bodies as well as business and rural interests. Progress reports will be published every six months.

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Post Office Network 31 January 2017
The Post Office Network Business Development Group, chaired by Mr. Bobby Kerr, was established in late 2014 to examine the potential for additional Government business – as well as commercial business – to be transacted through the Post Office network. The final report of the Group was published in January 2016.

On foot of this report, two Working Groups were established to progress the recommendations arising from the report of the Business Development Group; these were the Post Office Network Renewal Implementation Group, chaired by Mr. Kerr, and the Post Office Hub Working Group which I myself chaired.

The Network Renewal Group examined a number of issues relating to the Post Office network, including the number and spatial distribution of post offices, branch modernisation, the streamlining of products and services, and postmaster contracts. Mr Kerr submitted his final report to An Post on 23rd December last.

The role of the Post Office Hub Working Group was to identify potential models under which the post offices could act as community hubs, especially in rural areas. This Working Group has also completed its work, and final drafting changes are currently being made to the Group’s report. I will be making this report available to the Government as soon as possible.

The recommendations arising out of these reports will be considered by the Board of An Post and by the Government respectively and I anticipate that a number of firm actions will be agreed for delivery by An Post, by my own Department, and potentially by other Government Departments.

These actions will be monitored on an on-going basis by my Department through its direct engagement in delivery, and also through the processes which are being put in place to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan for Rural Development as a whole. A Monitoring Committee, which will be chaired by Minister Heather Humphreys, will meet on a regular basis to monitor the progress of each of the actions in the Plan. The Monitoring Committee will include the key stakeholders from relevant public bodies and from business and rural interests. Progress reports will be published every six months.
An Post needs to change with the times and face up to challenges Jim Daly TD 29th March, 2017
The report from the Network Renewal Implementation Group was commissioned by An Post for An Post – it is not a Government report. This is where the speculation of the potential branch closures and job losses originates.


Minister White announces Bobby Kerr as Chair of post office network Business Development Group
Sunday 21st December 2014

Who makes the decision to close?

An Post CEO cites Social Protection requirement that people must be able to collect their social welfare from 95% of within 3 km in an urban area and 95% of clients within 15 km in a rural area as a determining factor Prime Time RTE 11th April 2017

Varadkar renews €52M social welfare contract with An Post

Broadband Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Rural National Broadband Plan

Friday, 24 March 2017

The 32nd Dail and the do as little as possible government.

A do Nothing Dail or a do as little as possible government?

FactFind: One year in, is this really a "do-nothing" Dáil? Dan Mc Gilll theJournal.ie March 2017

Interesting stats thats you can't deny, the least amount of bills passed bar 1 other Dail, the slow government formation, Dail procedural changes is only part of the reason but it kinda misses the point, that the government still mostly controls the amount of bills that get to the Dail, and can still delay and block bills from the opposition. Its the do as little possible government not the "do nothing Dail".

Pre-legislative scrutiny where the General Scheme of Bills goes to commmittee before it is introduced to the Dail was introduced over the last Dail and it has slowed down the process of bills getting to the Dail.

Unfortunately the above article and many others article perpetuates a mistaken meme started by the recently ex-government party, Labour. Despite the minority government and the Dail reforms the government still mostly controls the amount of bills that get passed in the Dail. They can still delay (sometimes with the help of Fianna Fail TDs) and block bills the opposition are not allowed to introduce bills that put a charge on the state and any government bills that do have to be approved by the Taoiseach.

Consolidated Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann 2017

Bills involving the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys.
179. (1) A Bill which involves the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys, other
than incidental expenses, shall not be initiated by any member, save a member of the
Government.

Article 17.2 of the Constitution
CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND
THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT
CONSTITUTION AND POWERS

ARTICLE 17 2 Dáil Éireann shall not pass any vote or resolution, and no law shall be enacted, for the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys unless the purpose of the appropriation shall have been recommended to Dáil Éireann by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach.
Noel Whelan: New politics means little legislation Noel Whelan Irish Times January 2017
Arguably the only substantial piece of new legislation passed by the Dáil was the Act to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis


Government Legislation Programme
Government Legislation Programme Spring/Summer session 2017
This Government Legislative Programme is divided into a number of sections

The first sets out the details of 31 Government Bills to be published by July 2017.
The second sets out the details of 33 Bills to undergo Pre-Legislative Stage in this Session.
The third sets out the details of 69 Bills each Department plans to introduce in the longer term.

The fourth sets out the 27 Bills which have already been published and are currently before the Oireachtas, detailing the progress they have so far made.
The final two sections set out the 18 Acts passed and the 28 Bills published by the current Government since it took office on the 6th May 2016.
Its always hard to say what bills will actually appear the departments are black boxes and its very labourious to track their progress once they do start. (Bills of 32nd Dail spreadsheet) There is so much focus on a do nothing Dail and little discussion of whats coming out of the departments. On This Week (mp3) in February Regina Doherty says theres plently of legislation 20 bills passed (how many of them started in previous Dail, how many were must pass budget bills?), 30 government bills started, 63 private member bills (how far have any PMBs got?). Not entirely convinced of government ambition. Minister of State for Disabliity Finian McGrath defends his pace of executive action on the Irish Times March 1st Inside Politics podcast (from ~25 mis).

Legislative Strike
The ‘new politics’ one year on: Different? Yes. Better? No Pat Leahy February 2017
The power of the Opposition has largely been used to slow the work of Government. Privately, many senior civil servants believe that the experiment of a minority government has been an abject failure; some even say that they are reluctant to propose legislation because they are afraid that the Dáil will amend it beyond recognition.

RTE Prime Time investigative reporter Katie Hannon says the 'government is largely paralysed, little legislation of merit of note being produced' (at 5:30 minutes)


Are the government on legislative strike because they cannot get their way 100%?


Private Members Bills
Over 90 private members bills initiated in 32nd "do nothing" Dail over 80 still in play although very few getting much further.

List of all 32nd dail pmb since yesterday on workingSheet3 List of bills in 32nd Dail


(If a bill is introduced and not blocked does that mean it automatically ordered for the second stage?)

Are there too many different "issue raising" private members bills being initiated for them all to suceed? are they blocking each others progress through to committees or would they not get very far through the Oireachtas anyway? so might aswell draft lots of them?

Office of the Parliamentary Legal Advisor
Capacity review of the Office of the Parliamentary Legal Advisor (OPLA) of the Houses of the Oireachtas Recommends .5 million spent a year to increase legal techinical drafting help to members drafting private members bill. Notes need to increase PMB quality and issues with regard to the number of PMBs being initiated and going to busy committees.
The reality is that most substantive and complex legislation across all areas of Departmental responsibility will continue to emanate in the form of Government Bills.

Committees
There has been some concern about the changes to committees which have been given their own morning slots so as not to clash with the Dail.

Splashing the cash: Oireachtas committees costing €265,000 Sarah Bardon Irish Times October 2016
Committee changes The new reform measures mean committees can only meet on a Wednesday and a Thursday morning to allow members be present for Dáil business.
It also means additional settings must be sanctioned by the business committee. However, chairpersons who attended the meeting on Wednesday evening claimed they are unable to hold regular meetings. There are now only four committees that meet regularly with others struggling to hold fortnightly meetings.

Members raised concerns that they are unable to properly scrutinise legislation due to constraints.

New politics beset by old problems in slow-moving Dáil Sarah Bardon Irish Times March 2017
“Everything has come to a shuddering halt,” he said. “For example, the finance committee is allocated a certain time every week to conduct its business. That is allocated to us by the business committee. If we want to deviate from it we have to make a request to the committee of committee chairpersons, who then have to seek approval from the business committee.
“It is a layer of bureaucracy that is ensuring absolutely nothing gets done.”
Standing Orders changes made in March to address this, a Dail motion to expand and define the powers of the Working Group of Committee Chairmen. Standing Orders: Motion Dáil debates Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Committee regularity Tableau Public Chart Click through to embiggen and compare Dail 31 and Dail 32.
Chart of Committees of 32nd Dail including private Meetings Links A year on, has 'New Politics' gone stale? writes Conor McMorrow and Michael Lehane for RTE analysis March 2017 The post originally said,
Even though his party’s whip Michael Moynihan had agreed to the week off at an earlier business committee meeting
until I pointed out that a Hugh O'Connell in the Sunday Business Post reported that Michael Moynihan had misssed the meeting due to a bereavement and I questioned whether he or FF had agreed to the week off at any business committee. Pat Leahy: Government needs a reboot – whoever leads it Pat Leahy Irish Times February 21017 Pat Leahy says creeping stasis in government has been "privately confirmed". I wouldn't call that confirmed at all. The ‘new politics’ one year on: Different? Yes. Better? No Pat Leahy February 2017
The power of the Opposition has largely been used to slow the work of Government. Privately, many senior civil servants believe that the experiment of a minority government has been an abject failure; some even say that they are reluctant to propose legislation because they are afraid that the Dáil will amend it beyond recognition.
Pat Leahy uses anonymous sources to say the current government is a failure. Senators angered by 'do nothing Dáil' Elaine Loughlin Irish Examiner 2016
In response to Mr Daly’s complaints, leader of the Seanad Jerry Buttimer said pre-legistlave scrutiny was now “stalling” the work that can be done.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Dail speaking and Legislation Time

Whats going on?

Micheál Martin seeks cut to small parties Fiachra Ó Cionnaith October 27, 2016 Irish Examiner

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has called for key speaking rights for smaller parties to be cut, despite the move being central to Dáil reforms sought by his party after the general election.
FF deputies complain about Ceann Comhairle in speaking row Philip Ryan Indpendent 20/11/2016

Eamon Ryan was complaining about speaking time in the Dail 2016-11-08

"There is a danger that on Thursday we will not have the same speaking rights that we have today, if the Government and Fianna Fáil plans, working together, are agreed."

Green Party: Fianna Fáil’s commitment to political reform has come to an end Eamon Ryan 26th October 2016
"Independent analysis shows that overall speaking times are allocated to parties on a proportional basis, with bigger parties having the advantage of speaking first. Now they want to go further by cutting the speaking time for the smaller parties. That would restrict debate in an attempt to return us to an old two-party system that has had its day."
What independent analysis?

Oliver Moran The Green Party Spokesperson on political reform told me it was 'analysis was carried out by the Office of Clerk of the Dáil and it was referred to during a previous Dáil reform committee meeting.'

but hasn't spoken about it since.

A motion publishsed 14-11-16 for changes of Dail standing orders reducing time by 10 minutes of speeches at second stage was agreed.
That, in accordance with the recommendation of the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform under Standing Order 107(1)(a), the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended in Standing Order 148 as follows:With effect from 15th November, 2016 (and only in respect of Bills which commence their second reading on or after that date), in paragraph (2) of Standing Order 148, to delete all words from ‘shall not exceed thirty minutes’ down to and including ‘not exceed twenty minutes.’, and substitute the following:

‘shall not exceed 20 minutes: Provided that where the Business Committee is of the opinion that in respect of a particular Bill, the time for each speech in this first round should be extended by a certain amount, it shall include a proposal to that effect in its report under Standing Order 27C(3).

The speech of any other member in the course of the debate shall not exceed 20 minutes.’.

Standing Orders of the Dail Houses of the Oireachtas

Standing Orders: Motion Dáil Éireann - 29/Nov/2016

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): I move:
That, in accordance with the recommendation of the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform under Standing Order 107(1)(a), until further notice in the 32nd Dáil, Standing Order 29 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended, with effect from 6th December, 2016:
(a) by the deletion of subparagraph (d) and the substitution of the following:
‘(d) The sequence in which Leaders shall be called upon to put questions shall be in accordance with the rota over nine weeks/27 sitting days, approved by the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform, determined on the basis of the number of members in each group, and with questions for each group distributed across each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that the Dáil sits: Provided that no group shall have more than one question each day. The rota as applied to particular dates shall be circulated periodically to members by the Journal Office.’;

and
(b) in paragraph (f), by the deletion of all words from ‘Provided that’ down to and including ‘that Standing Order’.”
Question put and agreed to.

Regina Doherty in the Irish Times Jan 2016
The two larger parties also share a concern that the smaller groupings in the Dáil are getting too much speaking time relative to their parliamentary strength, something that is now kept under constant review.


Final Report of the Sub-Committee on Dail Reform
24 May 2016

Government bill time is atleast 5.5 hours opposition times is 4 hours. Thats; 9.5 hours in total?

Chief Whip Regina Doherty says
“Particularly given that I only have five hours a week to pass legislation – as opposed to as much as I would have liked in the old Dail”

How much time on average would the gov and opp have/used in previous Dails?

The time available currently in Dail for Legislation is 11.25 hours per week.
Tom Kitt Committee System 30th Dail


This Glossary of Oireachtas Terms ( Constitutional Convention 2014) says oppostion used to have 3 hours.

So did gov used to have or use 8.5 hours a week? no?


Links
Role of the Houses of the Oireachtas in the Scrutiny of Legislation Dr. Brian Hunt 17th December 2010.