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Expenses documents for Mary Harney

Ken Foxe of The Sunday Tribune has uploaded files relating to expenses claimed by Mary Harney. You can check out details by clicking the links he has supplied on his blog.

There is a massive amount of information there, far too much for one person to digest (for example “part I” is 123 pages long). I encourage you to scan through it at random and email Ken if you notice anything interesting. He is available at Ken DOT Foxe AT gmail DOT com.

If you are a blogger then you may also consider linking to his post to get more eyes on the documents. The more eyes, the better.

I have noted some people, both online and offline, have said the expenses stories, because they are based almost solely on FOIs, are examples of “lazy journalism”. Completely wrong. Try sending a random FOI on expenses and see how far you get. Writing a good FOI requires more than guesswork, it needs an understanding of how the system works, an eye on what is coming down the line, and a decent steer.

Ken, and it seems now, various other journalists, are still on the expenses case, and it is not going to stop at some point in the morning. Ministers need to make these documents available for public inspection immediately. Until they do, Ken, and others, including Gavin, will continue to FOI them – perhaps simply on a point of principle. Right now the easy choice for all ministers is to throw their expenses to the public, anything is just delaying the inevitable.

And to the Opposition, Joan Burton is the only person to put her expenses online. What are the rest of you up to? Nearly all TDs expenses are already in the public domain because the papers FOI them annually, why not put them online yourselves as a symbolic gesture? Anything less and people might get curious.

Mary Harney expenses files – Ken Foxe.com

Note: If there are any spelling mistakes or errors in this post they are due to my recent return from a city centre pub. Your correspondent is currently chugging a pint of water in a desperate but undoubtedly feeble attempt to avoid a mother of a hangover. I was told it works but remain highly sceptical. I am likely to report the results tomorrow via my Twitter stream.

Be assured, all drinks were paid for from your correspondents own wage packet.

I will not be answering phone calls tomorrow.

Your correspondent recommends Paulanger, if available.

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3 Responses

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  1. steve white says

    well i think bitter ff politicians called it ‘lazy journalism’,while online peeps weren’t sure whether it constituted investigative journalism.

    perhaps if you/ken put up examples of foi letter that didn’t get the response you required and ones where they did and a guide to fois.

    and then what else you had to do to complete the story.

    i thought all minsters were asked through PQs, I presume the info will come out a few weeks

  2. John says

    Leo Varadkar’s has had his expenses up for almost a year.

    http://www.leovaradkar.ie/?p=259 and
    http://www.leovaradkar.ie/?page_id=167

    I think Joan Burton was following her constituency colleague rather than leading!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Caricatures Ireland » The Mary Harney Expense Files linked to this post on October 25, 2009

    […] The Mary Harney Expense Files via The Story. […]



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