The O’Donoghue files: It pays to pay attention to detail…

Gavin Sheridan and I started blogging within weeks of one another back in 2002. But if anyone is going to demonstrate the effectiveness of open source investigation in Ireland it is likely going to be him. Look at this thread for the effects of not only doing good investigative journalism, but unlike the mainstream setting the data free for others to pour over. An Ceann Comhairle O’Donoghue may have believed he’d sidestepped public anger by keeping his head down (the first line in his website re-iterates his belief in communication) and ploughing on, but the public release of his unredacted receipts may change that. Part two is to come later today… And believe me, there is a lot more to come, and not just regarding the eccentric expenses of An Duine Uasal O’Donoghue.

Update: Have reinstated John’s dropped ‘g’… it was the Kerry accent that had me confused… apologies all round..

  • “the effectiveness of open source investigation”

    Do any Slugger bloggers regularly use FoI requests as a weapon in their armouries? There’s some great material out there whether it be in Belfast, Dublin, London, Edinburgh or Cardiff.

    One of the best excuses I’ve heard for saying NO to an FoI request comes from Dublin where a department there said NO on the grounds that MLAs in Belfast would use the information to make trouble for the NI political process – or words to that effect!

    “unlike the mainstream”

    The MSM is unlikely to go open source for financial reasons. O’Donoghue will only really feel the heat if or when the MSM brings the story to the wider audience.

  • Drumlins Rock

    ah thats what MSM means!

  • ersehole


    it matters little from a Gaelic point of view, but the anglicization of his ancestral name that this rogue prefers, has a g in it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Have you got a link to that FoI response? I have done FoI’s in the past, but only in pursuit of a given story. You need to know what you are looking for. And they take a lot of time.

    It’s worth revisiting Mickey Kaus’s thoughts on the relationship between blogs and the msm, in terms of exercising influence and even leading the way:

  • “Have you got a link to that FoI response?”

    Not yet, Mick. My colleagues in another place are still pursuing that matter and have yet to give me permission to blog it.

    “And they take a lot of time”

    The delaying tactics are getting more effective and appear to be co-ordinated. Here’s a quote from a Maritime and Coastguard Agency email:

    You asked for a copy of the *** for ** *****; the Freedom of Information Act entitles people to recorded information, rather than simply for copies of documents. Could you specify what information you require from this document?

    MCA has already released related documents in dribs and drabs. Of course, if I’d already seen the document or similar I’d know exactly what to ask for? Now I’m not saying I’ve not seen this information, I just want to see the MCA copy 🙂

    Perhaps the Information Commissioner can exert some leverage on our behalf.

  • “the relationship between blogs and the msm”

    Here are two stories involving the same key folks that I blogged almost two years ago. The MSM went to town on Story A but chickened-out on Story B. Perhaps the first story had greater ‘sex’ appeal – in the context of ‘sexed-up’ articles 🙂