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Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

Friday 17 October 2014

Seanad Bye-Election, IMMA correspondence

Another Friday information release, Katie Hannon of RTE PrimeTime has some of the correspondence re the John McNulty appointment, the Sunday Times had some of this information two weeks ago but RTE decided to published the raw documents released to them under Freedom of Information because thats what modern news organisation do, there is so much benefit to seeing even the most boring thing with your own eyes and allowing it to be seen.

Sarah Glennie
The IMMA director said she only found out about the appointments on the 18th, the Department told the Sunday Times that it "wrote to IMMA on September 12 notifying of the appointments" but that the director was out of office till the 18th of September, McNulty's name only came out in the press the night before, Businessman who lost council election to run for the Seanad (23:17pm on 17th September).
I was notified by the Department via a phone call from Kevin Lonergan on September 18th that two new appointments had been made to the IMMA Board, John McNulty and Sheila O’Regan. We have not received anything in writing about this or any communication from the Minister’s office but I was told by both Kevin and Niall O’Donnchu that the appointments had been accepted and confirmed.
Email: IMMA director Sarah Glennie. New board members - 23rd September

Gerard Craughwell
Gerard Craughwell and John McNulty met the Seanad Clerk on Monday the 22nd of September to rule that their nominations were valid, Gerard Craughwell had decided to object to John McNulty's nomination but then withdrew his objection on learning that John McNulty was a board member of IMMA,

It was that evening we searched and inquired about his position on IMMA, and I emailed IMMA who sent me a list which didn't included John McNulty or Shiela O'Regan, I then emailed the Department who forwarded me a press release, about the 12th of September appointments, that they may have been sending to journalists like Gavan Reilly who were inquiring into it too.

The IMMA director and board chairman Eoin McGonigal even met the Minister on the 18th while meeting leaders of cultural institutions at a Council of National Cultural Institutions meeting, they didn't discuss the appointments.

The press release sent out by the Department of Arts claims that Heather Humphreys decided to appoint two board after a visit to IMMA,

The Minister made an unannounced visit during August with the Commissioners of OPW and met Gale briefly. Myself and Eoin did not meet her. We met her very briefly last Thursday at the CNCI meeting with Chairs and Directors of the CNCI and this matter did not come up.

Eoin McGonigal
Eoin McGonigal wrote to the Minister on the Wednesday the 24th querying why more then 9 members of the board had been appointed when they had been told by the Department in 2012 that the board would be limited to 9 and that all future appointments would be made through the public appointmenst process. He also wrote,

I would also like to draw your attention to our Memorandum and Articles which I am also enclosing and in particular clause 21 (xi) which states and IMMA Director’s must resign from the Board on receiving nomination to become a member of the Seanad. I have sent a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of IMMA to John McNulty and drawn his attention to Article 21 Rule 9.

He even enclosed a version of this memo from 2012 about board size limits which I have shown was held at the maximum 9 for two years until just before the Seand Bye-election.

National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery: Summary of Reform Proposals 2012.
The boards of the three institutions to be retained, but scaled back to a maximum of 9 members each, including the Chair.
I'd like someone to publish IMMA's Memorandum and Articles but the law is also in the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997

Membership of either House of Oireachtas or European Parliament. 26.—(1) Where a member of a Board is— (a) nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Board.

John McNulty
John McNulty said he was stepping down from the board the next day on the 25th.

John McNulty was already no longer a board member as soon as he was nominated which was on the 18th of September.

Seanad Clerk
The Seanad Clerk emailed the IMMA director on 18th of September asking whether McNulty was a member of the board, which he was because Humphreys deemed it so, the director replied writing
I am writing to confirm that John McNulty has been appointed as a Director of the IMMA Board.
but she didn't mention to the Clerk that he had only been appointed 6 days before, and that the IMMA director had only been told by phone that day, the 18th, How long did the director know of McNulty's appointment? hours, minutes? Any lack of communication doesn't justify McNulty using a 6 day appointment as a qualification for a Seanad seat.

It seems the IMMA offices were not told by the director till the 23rd, so when they were asked on the September 22nd who was on the board the Director’s Office sent out a list that didn't include the latest two appointees.

Sheila O'Regan IMMA board member?
The department of Arts wrote to IMMA on the 2nd of October requesting them to send information on duties of IMMA board members to Sheila O'Regan, why hadn't they already done that? Why did the department have to ask. Compare that to the very welcoming message to the previous appointee Jane Dillon-Byrne.

IMMA's website still doesn't list Sheila O'Regan as a current member of the board although they do now list Jane Dillon-Byrne, haven updated the list in the last week of September. I've asked IMMA twice why Sheila O'Regan is not listed as an IMMA board member and they refuse to answer, while answering other questions (about the expiry of other board members terms). Boards have to be uneven but that's no reason Sheila O'Regan is not on the board it may mean they have to appoint another person.

My twitter account @lostexpectation is even mentioned in the email sent to board members and staff on 23rd along with news articles from Fionnan Sheahan of the Independent and Gavan Reilly of TodayFm.

Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys was asked in the Dail by Billy Timmis TD why did the Minister for Arts Humphreys appoint more IMMA board members then promised limit of 9? Again she repeated her press release and did not say why she breached the limit the Department had instituted.

Terence Flanagan TD also asked each department,
a list of all State board appointments since general election 2011; the person who recommended each appointment; the credentials of those appointed; if the vacancy was publicly advertised; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Heather Humphreys repeated her press released information and didn't answer most of the question, but did say that only 1 person, since 2011, I presume Emma Goltz, was appointed after a publically advertised call. It has to be noted that a Labour Party member who did not retain her council seat was also appointed to the board without an advertisement or involvement of the Public Appointments Service, as far as I know. The minister also breached her departments governance protocals in this case too.


I was notified by the Department via a phone call from Kevin Lonergan on September 18th that two new appointments had been made to the IMMA Board, John McNulty and Sheila O’Regan.
Several queries had been sent into our press department on that day and subsequent days asking for the list of our Board members and the list of 9 current members was sent out to all queries.

Email: IMMA director Sarah Glennie. New board members - 23rd September

Who knew John McNulty was on the IMMA board on the 18th of September and tried to double or triple check but didn't say anything about it before the nominations were ruled upon on the 22nd?

This email still doesn't make sense, how can she say she was told on the 18th and they say she didn't know, unless when she said we she meant IMMA's offices. Still doesn't answer my first question.

Monday 13 October 2014

Howth Malahide Local Election 2014 Results and Spending

Media Coverage of Results

RTE RTE Election Results Gone already Howth Malahide.

Independent.ie Elections, Results/2014/ Independent.ie hired a Data Scientist Mick Kerrigan who oversaw the creation of an app for its reportors to upload results to its website and then charts to display the results, they claimed the would be the fastest which they may have been but all the media orgs that uploaded results online, its was only the 1st and 2nd counts that went up the quickly and then as counts went on late into the night they weren't all updated. Independent.ie Howth Malahide Results

TV3 Focused on TV coverage for the day of the results.

Election results from TheJournal.ie Summary of all results when they were finished. Irish Examiner Irish Examiner 2014 Howth Malahide on Irish Examiner

Irish Times Election Coverage IT Fingal Results
Gavan Reilly political correspondent for Today FM Radio set up and let us see his spreadsheet of results as he updated them from the European Parliament elections count.

Howth Malahide Results

Fianna Fail17.7218.5+0.78
Fine Gael22.9720.7-2.27
Sinn Fein2.8712.19.23
Non party/Independent17.5930.1+12.51

Howth Malahide % difference first pref 2009 to 2014 Lab -16% (= COC%), FG -2% Ind +12% SF +10% GP -1% FF +1% SP -5%


Fingal Council on Politics.ie
Howth Malahide on Politics.ie
Results Spreadsheet

2014 local elections: The stats by DNM Analytics.

Hogan signs Local Elections Polling Day & Spending Limits Orders 24/03/14 Howth Malahide Electorate: 42,532 so spending limit is €13,000.

The totals of expenses declared for the Howth Malahide area.

They may be mistakes was unable to triple check the info as it was collected while a council staff member had to sit there and do nothing but supervise the noting down of the figures from paper candidate submitted statements of expenses. Compared to 2009 the spending is much lower, is this recession elections or have I not included the party spending money properly? I noted down each candidates own resources spending as well as their party spending but not all the percentages agreed.

The Local Government Management Agency with Ostia solutions created localgov.ie. Local Election results delivered as Open Data in 1 week Local Election results delivered as Open Data in 1 week

LGMA Local Election Results The Irish Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) planned to deliver the 2014 local election results to the internet in multiple downloadable formats as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative. However due to budget and time constraints they decided to shelve the project. The local election requirement came to light while LGMA and Ostia were discussing other OGP projects – just a week before the election date. Ostia offered, on the spot, to prove their claim of ‘data from anywhere, here now’!
The Local Government Management Agency LGMA tweeted from @LocalElects2014 providing XML JSON CSV as the results came in unfortunately their Count Centre display on the night was very frustrating, not showing all the results on one page and slow to refresh, it wasn't impossible to have a mental overview of the results. Maybe this was to be used as literal count centre display on TV screens, but there no other easy way to look at the results, downloading and redownloading .csv files of the latest results is cumbersome too. Obviously they had no time to test it with outside users, as usual with government ICT projects they never tell people what they are doing, just launch things and then the surprised when they don't quite get expected response. Ostia Solutions announces delivery of real time election results for Irish Local Election 2014 Still not sure how they did it, how they got the information from the counts into a system to then output.

Local Election results delivered as Open Data in 1 week Reuse of Irish election data spurs open source Count Visualization (from @Anamates) Chord Diagram of Party Transfers Preference Votes Total Party Vote The essential electionsireland.org.

Conference reports Conference reports were also looked at these are also not available online, and investigated by the Irish Independent can be of poor quality. The conference reports inspected on water charges and local government were very general describing how the conference were excellent and informative, justifying their travel or expense but did not really pass on any information that might be useful to other councillors.

Declaration of Ethics The Declaration of ethics/Declaration of interests for most councillors were nill, merely mentioning jobs or houses owned with family or directorships in community facilities that they have as a councillor.

Donations statements Only donations for 2013 available, all nill.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 Results and Reforms. Could it still happen again?

Gerard Craughwell won. No official results yet and I was doing something else at the time of the count so depending on Gavan Reilly, Mary Minihan and Sarah Bardon for results.

My thoughts on the promised reforms below.

Official count and results published on the seandcount.ie page on 16th of Ocotober 2014.
Seanad Éireann Bye Election Count, 10th October 2014 Cultural and Education Panel.

Trying to work out how many possible Fine Gael and Labour votes Gerard Craughwell got and other stats.

On Highland News interview with John McNulty he thanks people for not voting for him, yet 84 did.

Highland News interviewed Dinny McGinley TD for Fine Gael and recent and Minister for State for the Gaeltacht at the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Dinny McGinley says board places will be now publically advertised, as I wrote that practice has been in place since 2011 and didn't address the problem of the unchecked Ministerial power to appoint.

New reforms, but could it still happen?

Howlin Announces Revised Model for Ministerial Appointments to State Boards
requiring that all appointments to vacancies on State Boards must:

1. be advertised openly on the State Boards portal www.stateboards.ie operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS)

2. meet specific and detailed criteria determined by the relevant Minister as necessary for the effective performance of the relevant role; and

3. be processed by way of a transparent assessment system designed and implemented by the independent Public Appointments Service (PAS) to support the relevant Minister in making appointments to State Boards under his/her remit.

Will the future reforms tackle the problem? Im not sure how tightly integrated public appointments service reform will be, the Minister will still have the power to ignore it as far as I can see.

be advertised openly on the State Boards portal www.stateboards.ie operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS)

There was a wide call of "expressions of interest in future vacancies for Board members" in June for a number of cultural institutions boards in 2013, which covered presuambly was for the two board members who full terms would expire in the next year.

Were the department putting out scatter gun call for expressions of interest for vacancies on state board just to be able to say that they did.

"vacancies will occur in the coming 12 months".

meet specific and detailed criteria determined by the relevant Minister

Minister Humphreys said stated her criteria and found that John McNulty met them, after he was appointed. A minister can always meet criteria determined by herself.

be processed by way of a transparent assessment system designed and implemented by the independent Public Appointments Service (PAS) to support the relevant Minister in making appointments to State Boards under his/her remit

Note the PAS role is only to 'support the Minister' she can ignore it, it seems the only hope is this will mean Ministers may not be able to act so quickly and there will more people involved and steps in the process and its this that will stop the corruption, I await the details of this, but Minister will still have the power ignore this process entirely, as far as I can see.

There is no mention in the new rules about consulting the relevant organisation's leadership or board, it should be includeded as we now know that Humphreys didn't consult IMMA before making these appointments. See Sunday Times 5th October article. "IMMA not told about McNulty" - Colin Coyle. The article also tell us how Eoin McGonigal chairman of the board wanted a person with "high-level business contacts" to encourage fund raising.

Amazingly news anchor Ray Kennedy for RTE Nine News 10th October introduced Gerard Craughwell winning by suggest he has an unfair advantage because of the controversy, when it was the government who gave an unfair advantage to McNulty to get him qualified and nominated.

On the other hand Richard Crowley continued to ask the right questions when interviewing Terence Slowey on RTE Radio News at One, asking where John McNulty's own political antennae was when he was being appointed to IMMA board and used it as his nomination qualification.

Heather Humphreys set out my priorities as Minister for Arts.
The proposals also provide for a range of operational reform measures, including shared services, governance reform, reduced board sizes and enhanced processes for board appointments.

She already broken two of those priorities before she made the speech.

Members of the 24th Seanad.