THE Department of Public Expenditure said RTÉ needs to cut costs more before any commitment should be made to give them extra funding.
RTÉ should be asked to review loss-making public service broadcasting and even look at what services it was providing, an internal Departmental briefing note says. The memo for Minister Paschal Donohoe was prepared as part of discussions over the sale of lands at the broadcaster’s campus in Montrose.
It said that both RTÉ and the Department of Communications were looking for funding for the broadcaster to be restored to 2009 levels when it was €20 million higher. However, the Department of Public Expenditure said that they “did not necessarily accept that further additional Exchequer funding should be provided or that the level of Exchequer funding should be restored to its peak”.
Below is the full FOI release in relation to Ken’s story in TheJournal.
CONCERNS WERE RAISED in the Department of Social Protection over calling people “cheats” as part of the controversial advertising campaign on social welfare launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar while he was Minister for Social Protection.
The ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ campaign was launched in April and caused considerable debate over highlighting welfare fraud so prominently and for asking people to anonymously report their neighbours.
Internal departmental emails obtained by TheJournal.ie reveal that with just weeks to go, the department considered changing the campaign title to something a little less forceful.
Read the 465 page document here:
Below are copies of briefing notes prepared for Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Robert Watt ahead of his appearance at Committee on Budgetary Oversight in early April 2017. The documents contain summary information of Government expenditure.
Some years ago we sought the following audit reports from An Garda Siochana:
Audit report NBCI & Appendix Control Failures NBCI
Expenditure Review 2013 Vehicle Maintenance Contract
Audit Report Mayo & Appendix Control Failures Mayo
Review Audit report Mayo
Audit of Procurement
Audit Regional Offices & Appendix Control Failures
Audit Report FCPO
Review of CCTV Systems
Many of the documents were refused and we ultimately appealed to the Information Commissioner. In February he found largely in our favour.
Below are the audits, as released.
Below is the judgment delivered today in MCENR vs Information Commissioner (with eNet and Gavin Sheridan as notice parties). Some time ago we sought the contract between the Department of Communications and eNet, in relation to the managing and promotion of the Metropolitan Area Networks built around the country. The department refused our request, so we appealed ultimately to the Information Commissioner, who ultimately found in our favour (worth reading the whole decision)
The Department disagreed with the decision and so appealed to the High Court, arguing that the Commissioner had erred in law by ordering the release of the bulk of the contract.
There was a two day hearing earlier this year. I was represented by FPLogue Solicitors and John Kenny BL.
The judge dismissed the appeal, as outlined here:
Part of an ongoing process. This is the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s appointments diary for 2016.
In relation to the Taoiseach’s diary, items marked A, B, and C relate as follows: (i) Entries marked ‘A’ are being withheld as they relate to personal information as defined in Section 2 of the Act and are exempt under Section 37 (1) of the Act; which provides for the witholding of any record which would involve the disclosure of personal information; (ii) Entries marked ‘B’ relate to the functions of the Taoiseach as a member of a political party and as such are exempt records as defined in Section 2 of the Act, and (iii) Entries marked ‘C’ are being withheld under Section 33 (1), Security, Defence & International Relations.
Taoiseach’s Diary 2015
Taoiseach’s Diary 2014
Taoiseach’s Diary 2013
Taoiseach’s Diary 2012
Taoiseach’s Diary 2011
Taoiseach’s Diary 2010
Taoiseach’s Diary 2009
Taoiseach’s Diary 2008
Taoiseach’s Diary 2007
Taoiseach’s Diary 2006
Taoiseach’s Diary 2005
Taoiseach’s Diary 2004
Taoiseach’s Diary 2003
Taoiseach’s Diary 2002
Taoiseach’s Diary 2001
Taoiseach’s Diary 2000
Taoiseach’s Diary 1999
Taoiseach’s Diary 1998
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This time last year we sought certain records from An Garda Siochana. These included several audits that were carried out (we knew of audits because we had earlier sought the audit log). AGS refused to release most of the records we sought. This is what we sought:
1) The following 2014 audit reports:
Audit of NBCI
Expenditure review 2013 Vehicle Maintenance Contract
Expenditure review 2014 GoSafe Camera Contract
Audit Mayo Division
Review Audit Mayo
2) The following 2013 audit reports:
Audit of procurement
Audit of the Serious Crime Review Team following Allegations of Financial Irregularities
Audit of the Offices of the Regional Assistant Commissioners
3) The following 2012 audit reports:
Audit of Compensation Claims
Audit of Controls in the Fixed Charge Penalty Office
Audit of Tranman System
Review of CCTV systems
We appealed to the Information Commissioner, who has now ruled on the issue. You can read the full decision here.
The Commissioner has directed release of large numbers of records, including portions of documents that were previously redacted. We will publish all records upon release.
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This is a log of representations received by the Department/Minister for Finance from January to May 2016. Representation, or correspondence logs, are interesting to see how a Minister or Department is interacting with lobby groups, politicians, or members of the public. Most of the redactions are for mobile telephone numbers (ie personal information).
[Cross posted from Right To Know
Earlier this year a newspaper report indicated that the IDA was lobbying against higher income taxes claiming that high income tax was making it difficult to attract foreign investment and was hitting job creation.
In August last year we submitted an FOI request looking for the analysis to back up these claims and all records of any lobbying in respect of income tax and social security rates in Ireland.
The IDA said that it continually analyses personal taxation and social security and how it influences FDI in Ireland and pointed to various methods including a 2015 survey by KPMG, a report from the Tax Institute and engagements with stakeholders, clients and staff. Specifically IDA undertook research in 2016 to identify reasons why some companies who considered Ireland chose to go elsewhere. According to the IDA, personal tax was among the reasons why they did not choose Ireland.
However, none of the underlying records were identified or released.
All IDA provided were redacted copies of 2017 pre-budget submissions calling on the government to reduce the top rate of income tax from 52% to below 50% and to set out a road map of income tax reductions up to 2020.
Tax rates are a big public interest issue. Taxes are used to fund public services (including the IDA it must be noted). With lower tax rates there must be an objective analysis of the trade-offs that are being made. While nobody necessarily wants to pay more tax – a public body such as the IDA would be expected to be sensitive to the bigger issues at play when it calls for tax cuts. In particular there must be a clear public benefit based on objective analysis so that the IDA position is substantially more than mere lobbying on behalf of big business.
We believe that the IDA must disclose its tax analysis and identify the interests that are driving it to intervene in the public debate over tax rates. To that end we are not satisfied that so much information has been withheld and have now filed an application with the Information Commissioner to review the IDA’s decision to keep the bulk of its information supporting its position on lower taxes from public scrutiny.
The Information Commissioner has invited us to make a submission in early January and we expect him to make a decision shortly after that.
We will keep you posted.
Here is IDA’s response: