Release: €2.6bn of State spending

How does the State spend money, and who gets it?

It’s a question this blog has been concerned with since it was founded in 2009. Today we’re publishing some new data that helps answer this question – in what we believe to be the largest database by € amount ever published containing line item State spending.

Below is €2,597,722,577 of State expenditure from 2013, obtained from 68 public bodies via the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It shows the total for each supplier to those 68 public bodies. (Note, there are duplicates where one supplier had a relationship with more than one public body). The data shows the top 5,000 suppliers by amount to those 68 public bodies.

We tried hard to obtain the full SQL database in the possession of the Department, but they resisted us all the way to the Information Commissioner, who found against us last year. They wouldn’t even release a breakdown per public body because they said it would be too complex (and onerous) (anyone who knows SQL knows that can’t be true).

We believe there to be no barrier to the Department publishing the entire dataset, which they’ve cleaned and annotated.

Download here.

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Irish Water’s 2015 annual report

Irish Water’s 2015 annual report is out. There’s lots of interesting bits in there.

Irish Water’s total liabilities grew from €890m in 2014 to €1.44bn in 2015.

Irish Water borrowed lots:

Net debt grew from €324m to €890m.

Borrowings:

The number of people paying bills in the 4th cycle cratered. Here’s a graph:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.59.12

Here’s the breakdown:

Operating costs:

A note towards the end:

Console Suicide Prevention Limited accounts 2013/2012

Given recent stories about Console, we publish below the annual accounts for Console for 2013 and the 2012 accounts (along side the re-submitted 2012 accounts)

2013:

2012 accounts (and re-submitted accounts):

Minister for Justice diary 2015

We continue to work on obtaining Ministerial diaries. It took the Department of Justice more than 4 months to reply to this request – par for the course for that particular Department, and in clear breach of the FOI Act. Anyway, below is the diary of Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for 2015.

Minister for Finance diary 2000

This is part of an ongoing process to publish the diaries of Ministers going back to the inception of the FOI Act in 1998. We believe these diaries are important to publish and in previous years our archive was used by the Banking Inquiry to query such things as who the Minister for Finance was meeting with during the property boom.

Today we are publishing the last of the diaries (the year 2000) for the Minister for Finance, bringing the archive up to all 18 years of finance diaries, covering the period 1998 to 2015. All of the diaries have been OCRd and can be searched or viewed via our Document Archive.

Previously:

Minister for Finance diary 2015
Minister for Finance diary 2014
Minister for Finance diary 2013
Minister for Finance diary 2012
Minister for Finance diary 2011
Minister for Finance diary 2010
Minister for Finance diary 2009
Minister for Finance diary 2008
Minister for Finance diary 2007
Minister for Finance diary 2006
Minister for Finance diary 2005
Minister for Finance diary 2004
Minister for Finance diary 2003
Minister for Finance diary 2002
Minister for Finance diary 2001
Minister for Finance diary 2000
Minister for Finance diary 1999
Minister for Finance diary 1998

GSOC report on Clare Daly TD

GSOC investigated:

In January 2013, Deputy Clare Daly, TD for the Dublin North constituency, made a complaint to GSOC, arising from her arrest on 29 January. Significant aspects of her complaint concerned the alleged unlawful disclosure of information to the media, both about the fact of her arrest and about whom she requested to be called at the time.

GSOC concluded:

…while it is not possible to state that this information was released by a particular Garda or any other identifiable person, there does appear to be sufficient evidence to state, on the balance of probabilities, that some of the detail relating to Deputy Daly’s arrest emanated from within the Garda Síochána organisation and were made available to the media in an unauthorised manner.

The Ombudsman Commission is of the view that Deputy Daly was entitled to the presumption of innocence and that she had a right to privacy. These rights appear to have been infringed by the release of such information.

Gene Kerrigan opinion piece.

Here is the report in full:

Dept of Finance tax strategy group documents

Thanks to Mark Tighe from the Sunday Times for the documents below. Mark did a story in February, including:

Civil servants warned the finance minister three years ago that the “double Irish” tax loophole was damaging Ireland’s reputation and threatening its ability to defend its corporation tax rate.

In internal briefing documents released under a freedom of information request by The Times, the Department of Finance’s tax strategy group said that the “double Irish” — a tax-shifting scheme that allowed companies to reduce tax bills by transferring funds between internal companies based in Ireland and units in the Caribbean or the Netherlands — risked undermining the legitimacy of the country’s corporation tax strategy.

The documents were only released after Tighe appealed to the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner’s decision, as well as the released documents are published below.

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The O’Higgins Report

Here it is – The Commission of Investigation Certain Matters Relative to the Cavan Monaghan Division of the Garda Síochána – Final Report. Coincidentally, the Minister for Justice is apparently out of the country. The report was somewhat readable, but we’ve applied an additional OCR process just in case.

NAMA’s plans for delivering housing

Some time back we obtained the release below. It’s a very interesting set of various Department of Finance documents and it contains a number of elements:

1) Speaking notes for Michael Noonan for a NAMA offsite meeting in March 2015
2) NAMA’s written advice to Michael Noonan for residential delivery
3) NAMA’s suggestion that there be a Chief Government Adviser on Residential Delivery
4) A summary brochure of NAMA’s residential delivery to September 2015
5) Examples of houses for sale from NAMA projects, with sales/sq foot prices redacted
6) A September 2015 letter from NAMA to Noonan, on what NAMA can deliver
7) Project Arrow details
8) Noonan’s response to a private members bill

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Lee Buchheit bondholder email to Department of Finance

In today’s Sunday Business Post, Jack Horgan-Jones interviewed New York lawyer Lee C Buchheit. Buchheit is known as one of the world’s experts on sovereign debt crises. As the article says, he’s “the guy who governments fly in to tell their creditors they won’t be getting their money back”.

In 2010 the Irish government secretly called in Buchheit’s expertise. It was kept secret, according to the article, because if word got out, the markets would know Ireland planned to burned bondholders. In correspondence published for the first time below, Buchheit is shown to be aiding the Department of Finance with drafting legislation that would have allowed for the burning of bondholders.

Buchheit was asked if it would have been possible to restructure the liabilities of the Irish bank to keep the estimated €9bn liabilities from migrating to the shoulders of the Irish taxpayer.

“If you ask me, the answer has to be yes. Come on. We’re not children. The markets are not children. If they think they can jockey the official sector into paying them out, of course they’ll do it. But if they don’t think it’s happening they will restructure. They’ve done it all around the world, forever.”

Thanks to the Sunday Business Post for making the documents available.

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