Release: €65 million in Department of Foreign Affairs spending data

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This is a datadump of all spending by the Department of Foreign Affairs across a wide range of categories for 2015.

Included is the €46,000-a-month spent on renting a residence for the Ambassador in Tokyo, as well as the €5,400-a-month for a home for our most senior diplomat in the Vatican. Also in there is the €165,000 for an armoured car for our man in Ramallah, and €60,000 for a non-armoured Mercedes Benz for the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

It includes €250,000 for furniture removal, and just over €220,000 on business class flights out of a €2million+ bill for airfares. About €180,000 was spent on hotels, with the biggest bill of €5,752 charged to the protocol division by the five-star Glenlo Abbey in Galway for hosting the German President.

Another large cost was “maintenance”, mostly to houses and embassies rented by the department. One contract was just over €210,000. Cars cost more than €750,000, with €69,000 spent in Ethiopia, €64,000 in Mozambique and €37,000 in Uganda — countries in which Irish Aid, the state’s overseas aid agency, is active.

A bill of €475,000 was run up on official entertainment, while a chauffeuring company was paid more than €50,000. Dublin Airport Authority was paid €16,400 for VIP lounges and other services.

Across the network of embassies and consulates, the bill for cable and satellite television came to €72,000 with the highest at Ireland’s UN office and consulates in New York. Cleaning bills for the diplomatic buildings exceeded €1m. The department also paid €186,654 in “settlement costs” to former local staff at the Irish embassy in Lesotho, following its closure in 2014.

Here is the raw data:

Download raw data here.

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NAMA CEO’s slides on past, present and future of bad bank

NAMA Chief Executive Brendan McDonagh gave a presentation at NAMA’s away day in March 2016.

The slides give a frank and easy-to-read overview of how NAMA perceives its work to date, how work there is going at the moment, and what the future looks like. If you’re curious to learn more about these three things, we encourage you to read the deck. We obtained the slides through an FOI request. It also contains a detailed overview of NAMA’s plans for Dublin’s Docklands.

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NAMA’s away day minutes, March 2016

These are minutes related to NAMA’s away day in March 2016. They contain a summary of where NAMA is at as of that date, and where they plan to go. It includes sections on:

  • Irish Commercial Property Outlook 2016
  • Global Money flows- Is Ireland still an investment
    opportunity?
  • Dublin Docklands Update
  • Residential Development market
  • Legal Risks
  • Downsizing and Cost Management
  • NAMA residual portfolio 2016 and beyond
  • Residential Delivery update

As ever, we appreciate support to keep the information flowing. Join us here.

Taoiseach’s diary 2007

This is part of an ongoing process. This is the appointments diary for former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for 2007. “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 withholding of any record which would involve the disclosure of personal information.”

This brings our Taoiseach’s diary entries to 16 years combined (see below).

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

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.

Continue reading “Release: €2.6bn of State spending”

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

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.

Continue reading “Dept of Finance tax strategy group documents”

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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