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Submission by Open Knowledge Ireland to the Public Consultation on Open Data Licences

- March 18, 2015 in DPER, Ireland, licence, OGP Action Plan, OKFN Ireland, Open Data Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland, PSI, Public Consultation

Date: 18 March 2015 at 11:00
Subject: Submission by Open Knowledge Ireland to the Public Consultation on Open Data Licences
Cc: “” <>

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Sir / Madam,

Please find attached the submission by Open Knowledge Ireland to the public consultation on open data licences.

Open Knowledge Ireland is very pleased at the Government’s decision to invite views on an open data policy for Ireland and the decision to review the Public Sector Information (PSI) licence.

Open Knowledge Ireland (OK Ireland) is a regional chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The OK Ireland is at the forefront of Ireland’s Open Data community with the aim of developing a self-sustainable, enabling ecosystem for open data to empower citizens and organisations to make better informed, evidence-based decisions.

OK Ireland promotes open data culture through regular weekly, monthly and quarterly community engagements. Our events have been attended by thought leaders and notable civic activists.  Between October 2012 and January 2015, OK Ireland has successfully organised 15 community meetups, 5 hackathons, one Open Data training day and one OGP Civil Society day, with a total of over 1000 participants.We facilitate development of practical engagement with open data repositories. We organize training events, in which participants develop practical skills.

OK Ireland is supported by a number of organizations which make world-class technology resources available for fostering innovative projects. For example, CKAN, the world’s leading open-source data portal platform, was developed by the non-profit Open Knowledge Foundation and is today overseen and managed by the CKAN Association. CKAN is currently used by governments and organizations worldwide to power both official and community data portals, including the Irish Government Data Portal

Members of OK Ireland are technology experts and experienced civic activists, with expertise in implementing the best global open data practices and tacit knowledge of unique challenges in Ireland. In September 2013, facilitated by a community engagement day, volunteers audited and catalogued datasets originally published by Irish government agencies. This exercise became a foundation for our input into the Global Open Data Census. At the same event, an Irish instance of CKAN, the worlds most advanced data repository, was deployed. For your convenience, the submission to the Public Consultation on Open Data Licences is also available online here:

Best regards,

Denis Our submission document: Submission by Open Knowledge Ireland to the public consultation on open data licences.pdf

Open Data Initiative Workshop

- November 9, 2014 in Events, OGP Action Plan, OGP Ireland, Open Data Ireland

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) and Open Knowledge Ireland wants to invite you to take part in its Open Data Initiative Workshop on Monday 17th of November at 6pm, at the Guinness Enterprise Center, Taylor’s Lane, Dublin 8. The Active Workshop aims to drive forward the Open Data Strategy, led by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER). On September 8th, this department held a public meeting on open data in Ireland. During the exchange of ideas generated by all participants in the meeting, it became clear that the demand for open data needs to be catalysed by creating real life examples of open data in Ireland that are useful for the general public and answer real questions. The idea for this workshop is to create 5+ real life examples of Open Data in Ireland being put in use and made helpful. At this event we will
  • Look at the progress Ireland has made regarding open data in availability for re-use in the last year
  • Present the Open Charity Data project, to mark potential projects, to identify obstacles and plan ways around then
  • To develop a working plan for the next 12 month
We are inviting all interested groups for open collaboration on moving this idea forward. Register on  to take part! This event is kindly supported by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER).

Are you still asking yourself what means “Open Government” and “Open Data” and what has it to do with you?

- October 7, 2014 in OGP, OGP Action Plan, OGP Ireland, Open Data, Open Data Ireland

(originally published on In the last time have appeared all around the web different subjects like “Open Government” and “Open Data”, who are not really directed to a special public or have a special orientation. If you are still wondering what that all means, by reading this blog you could befind some answers to your questions.

This words do not belong to any subjects that you can not understand, instead, they relate a lot to our environment and our basic life.

“Open Government” and “Open Data” means that the information that has been collected, processed and presented by the governments must be open, while at the same time privaty and safety have to be protected.

In generals words “Open” means all data must be published with open licenses so that everyone can use and reuse the information. “Open” also means open formats (.cvs), as well as without discrimination, that means that everyone can get the information without access restrictions and for free.

Why is this so important? There are a lot of reason that we could give you; some of them are: “Open Data” allow us all to make better political decisions, that is because politicians’ programs (investigations, results, etc) are open and accessible to everyone, so that everyone can better follow it. “Open Data” allows to promote innovation because by opening the data companies can build new services according to the new requests and necessities of the population.

And now… where are we? What has all this to do with us? What does it bring us? Think in subjects like for example global warming, energy, geo-information, finance, transport, education system (school, universities, etc.), etc. All this needs to use “Open Data”.

Already now you can find in internet lots of applications using “Open Data”. That means that people have been collecting the information, putting all together, processing and presenting it with the aim that you can see it all in a friendly visualization.

This applications give you information about for example: weather in your city (maybe you should take an umbrella with you before you leave to work); transport, how to get from point A to point B by car, bus, bike or walking. If you are cycling: In which areas in your city you should be more careful because they have a high probability of accidents, etc. In the subject education, “Open Data” allows us to answer different kinds of questions like: Which schools are in your area?, What kind of schools are there? (private, public, just for girls or just for boys, mix, etc.), Are there good schools?, If there are not that good: What could be the reasons? What needs to be improved? In the area of travel, meals and entrainment, these apps allow you to find out which are the best place to go to eat, which places have been having hygiene problems, which are the most visiting cities around the world, etc. About Hospital and clinics, when, for example, you are new in a city it would be important to know for you: Where are they? What is their speciality? If you are having problems for example with your heart, which would be the best option to go and get a treatment? Which are the problems of hospitals and clinics and how can it be improved? Another field where “Open Data” has been in use constantly is for crime and the different statistics that police and government present to the population: Where are the most dangerous/safe places in your city? What could be the reasons? What can the government do, the citizens, etc, to improve it?

What is the future of “Open Data”? As you can see “Open Data” allows to have a bigger panorama to make better decision based on the reality, so as to improve services by extracting all important points by a transparent process. The future of “Open Data” should be directed towards having open up the highest quality information with the aim to integrate all it.

Public meeting on Open Data Ireland on 8th September

- August 25, 2014 in DPER, Events, OGP Action Plan, OGP Ireland, Open Data, Open Data Ireland, public meeting

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) invited you to attend a public briefing session on Open Data at 6pm on Monday 8th September in the Atrium, Department of Justiceand Equality, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Please register for this event here.  

The format of this meeting will be a presentation by Insight NUI Galway on open data and the recently launched Open Data Portal. The floor will then be opened for discussion of priorities for a national Open Data Strategy, to include issues such as priorities for the next steps in the area of open data, including how to ensure a focus on high value datasets, as well as how the publication and reuse of official non-personal information has the potential to create significant economic and social benefits. Click here to read an article on the PER blog on the Potential for Open Data in Ireland.  

Insight’s research comprises a Best Practice Handbook, a Data Audit Report, a Roadmap for Open Data, an Evaluation Framework and an Open Data Publication Handbook. These reports have been published to assist in the development of an Open Data strategy for Ireland and are accessible here.  You may wish to review these in advance of this briefing session. Submissions or comments may be made by email in advance of the event to  We will continue to accept submissions until 19 September.

If you have any questions, please email

(copied from DPER’s email )

Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announces Government approval for removal of FOI application fee

- July 29, 2014 in FOI, Freedom of Information, Ireland, Nout van der Vaart, OGP Action Plan

[Written by Nout van der Vaart and originally hosted HERE. Re-posted with the authors permission] irish flag Two months after the European Regional Summit for OGP, Irish civil society welcomed a somewhat unexpected but not less celebrated achievement, as Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced that the Government approved the removal of the €15 FOI application fee for non-personal FOI requests as part of a suite of reforms to Ireland’s FOI regime. During and right after the Summit there was no clear signal of the government reconsidering its stance on removing FOI fees – a point fiercely pushed for by Irish civil society through OGP – but two months later this development will be celebrated as a win for civil society. The Minister said:
Over the last number of months I have concluded that Ireland’s fees regime for FOI required a radical overhaul. The FOI fees measures which I am putting in place restore the balance in relation to FOI fees envisaged in that path-breaking legislation. These reforms will allow our citizens access to information on a level par with best practice across the OECD. After all, information and data are the currencies of the new age.”

He also referred to the Irish OGP Action Plan as a major contributing factor for his decision:
My assessment of FOI fees reform was strongly informed by the issues raised in the pre-legislative scrutiny of my proposals on FOI carried out by the Oireachtas Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Committee the FOI Bill and the debate on the Bill during its passage through the Oireachtas, as well as the views of civil society participating to the preparation of Ireland’s Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. My conclusions were strongly reinforced by discussions I had with colleagues and participants at the OGP Europe Regional Conference held in Dublin Castle in May which highlighted the vital role of FOI as a cornerstone of openness, transparency and accountability of government and public administration”.
Although it took a while before this major development was eventually decided upon, after all we could say the Irish civil society lobby has been rather successful. With Ireland playing a major role as organizer of the Summit, civil society successfully seized the opportunity to start an effective lobby for abolishment of the fees. This case demonstrates the vast strategic opportunities for civil society to advocate for genuine open government reforms once their national governments play a leading role in OGP. On Wednesday, July 23rd, the first Irish National Action Plan was published, spanning three main areas: Open Data and Transparency, Citizen Participation and Strengthening Governance and Accountability. It can be found on Ireland’s country page on the OGP website. In reaction TASC, one of the organisations closely involved in the Irish OGP process, wrote a blog post commenting on the new Action Plan. < p class="entry-meta">

OGP Jam Round Up

- June 25, 2014 in Action Plan, DPER, Events, OGP, OGP Action Plan, OGP Ireland, OGP jam, OGPirl, Open Data Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland, open-government

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 14.51.02   On 8-9 May 2014 over 300 representatives of governments and civil society from over 30 countries took part in the OGP European regional meeting hosted by Minister Howlin of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Dublin Castle. On day one of the conference the Minister presented Ireland’s 1st Draft OGP National Action Plan and between May 8th and June 7th the Minister invited feedback on this Draft (PDF). Open Knowledge Ireland participated in a joint working group with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform between February and April 2014 and continuously helped to refine the Action Plan to help make it more meaningful to all Irish citizens. However, there was a lot of red tape and to date many suggestions have not been adopted. Another shortfall is that there was no public engagement on behalf of the Minister or the relevant Government Unit. So in the spirit of the OGP principles of citizen engagement and participation, Open Knowledge Ireland, with support of the OGP, held an OGP Jam on Saturday, 7th June to generate tools and ideas on how to make the OGP Action Plan meaningful to Irish citizens. Around ten people participated in a collaborative and creative event supported by Microsoft Ireland and Dovetail Technologies. The main benefit of the OGP Jam was that we were able to work with other citizens and use new technologies to explore how we can turn a government document into something that makes sense to the average citizen. What follows is a brief story around what was achieved on the day. The main goal of OGP Jam  was to make Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan more concise and specific in the areas of “Open Data”, “Citizen Participation” and “Trust”. Over the course of the Jam, our volunteers concentrated on three key areas of Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan. The participants concluded that in order to make the Action Plan more actionable, measurable, readable and understandable the Action Plan in its current format needs to be improved by including the following: [NOTE: All suggested dates and partner organisations are to be confirmed with the Irish Government, these are our suggestions]
  • Assigning partner organisations (which may follow up with the government throughout the implementation period). The Irish OGP Action Plan needs to be populated with Partner Organisations that the Government can partner with the government to achieve their goals. Other Action Plans including for example the UK OGP Action Plan have demonstrated that this is a solid methodology for Action Plan implementation:
For example: Establishment of best practice standards for Open Data Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 14.34.09  
  • Make commitments SMART wherever possible. Remember, that’s Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Realistic-Timebound. Applying SMART classification to tasks is the only way we can interpret if and when a commitment was completed.
    • You cannot easily see this from the 27 pages of the Action Plan. But if you look at it in a structured way and strip down the text into what’s relevant, not many commitments are SMART, yet.
  • Create a roadmap for NAP implementation over the 2014-2016 period
As per OGP guidelines, Action Plans should be written in plain language with minimal use of jargon or technical terms. So the idea was to simplify the document and make it more accessible to a wider audience through clarity, precision and specification.
Imagine going from this: Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 14.39.12

 To this (actual content! – and this is only a very simple prototype!!):

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 14.43.03The community members who attended the OGP Jam created this model and to a large extent  filled it with possible values. In many cases the time-frames, partners, goals, challenges, etc. for each commitment are still unknown. But we have provided this model to the Government Reform Unit looking after the OGP Action Plan as a recommendation on how to make the Action Plan more accessible to everyone. Our work will continue throughout the implementation phase of the Action Plan and you can follow our progress here (
The OGP Jam is storified here and you’ll find photos of the event here.