A six month review

It’s been about six months since myself and Mark started thestory.ie, so I thought I would take a look back to see what we have been doing over the past number of months. I know some of you stats people out there might be interested.

Thestory.ie has had nearly 40,000 visitors since our first post in late August. Subscriber numbers, either via RSS or email, is near 400. Stats for documents are not complete, since there is overlap with my own Scribd account, but since about late September thestoryie Scribd account holds 172 documents of varying sizes. Some are FOIs and some are Government reports. The 172 documents have been read 18,360 times and downloaded 569 times.

In terms of requests for information sent, the number of FOIs sent now numbers over 50. Our readers have generously donated €2,510 towards an FOI fund we established after readers expressed an interest in helping.

We can count a number of successes in the past six months. One of the first was the Morris Tribunal FOI, which led directly to the website being restored, along with a portion of the transcripts. We are awaiting the rest. Another success was the release of years worth of TD and Senator expenses, despite one refusal under Section 10 (1) (c) of the Act, which we successfully appealed under the internal review process. We also await publication of 371 days of Moriarty Tribunal transcripts, which we have been promised following an FOI request. We also recently published over €400 million worth of Enterprise Ireland grants data (received outside of FOI), which we have got help from readers in cleaning and reorganising.

We continue the process of publishing Ministerial diaries, and we have also begun the process of publishing FOI request logs, so we can all see what has previously been requested by others. The results of a number of further requests for information are awaited, some of them significant, while dozens more requests are in the process of being drafted. Some interesting stuff is coming down the line.

We would like to thank our readers for their support and here’s to the next six months.

2 thoughts on “A six month review”

  1. Firstly my apologies for posting this comment here as it is not related to the above article, however, as there is no other easily available feedback process I’ve used this comment space.

    I accept that The Story have a legitimate right to set their own agenda as ye foot the bill and do the leg work etc. nevertheless I would like to propose an agenda item…

    Public elected reps. are due to have their declarations of interests (ethics register) signed and delivered by the end of Feb. It would be fantastic if The Story and its readers could lobby their respective local and national reps. to publish these declarations online. It is unacceptable to me that this information, whilst nominally available, is often only available by visiting a certain office at a certain time when certain members of staff are on duty – available my arse!

    Perhaps readers could write to their County Managers and ask for this info to be put online and perhaps The Story would consider a FOI to County Managers, Houses of the Oireachtas etc.

    The objectives of this effort would be to a) make these documents available now and b) create a process in the respective organisations that makes publication of these documents a standard operation each year.

    I suspect that greater visibility of these documents would help embed a culture of transparency which has be wholly absent in Irish public life.

    There is one exception I’ve found so far for Galway County Council, see… http://www.galway.ie/ethics

  2. The site is extremely valuable. The founders have been ahead of the game in flagging matters that are only now reaching wider public awareness. If members of the Oireachtas, especially on the Public Accounts Committee, want to help better spend our €50,000 million, they could start by keeping an eye here. Well done to all.

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