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IPFS Workshop @ Oil Can Harry’s

- January 18, 2016 in Blockchain, Events, IPFS, OKFN Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland, Persistance

Join Open Knowledge Ireland to explore IPFS – the cutting edge open-source technology of the future available today.
The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a new hypermedia distribution protocol, addressed by content and identities. IPFS enables the creation of completely distributed applications. It aims to make the web faster, safer, and more open. We’ll be joined by Juan Benet (via video link), inventor of the Inter-Planetary File System and founder of Protocol Labs. When: Thursday, 21 January 2016 [18:30-20:00]
Where: Oil Can Harry’s, 31/32 Lower Mount St, Dublin 2 open streets map
Registration Page:
Hope to see you there.

Festive Greetings From Open Knowledge Ireland

- December 31, 2015 in 2016, christmas, Events, Hospital Waiting List, new year, OKFN Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland

We, Open Knowledge Ireland, would like to send all our supporters a big “Thank you” for your help in the last year. By participating in our events, speaking up in support for openness and transparency, and even by donating time, effort or money to us, you helped to make a difference. 2015 has brought some important new developments to Ireland. After years of lobbying, even going up as high as the EU, Ireland government finally started changing the  public sector information re-use licenses to open ones [].
News and Events
Featured Events 
Open Health Data Nigth @Science gallery
Important Dates
Wednesday, 20th January
While up until some months ago, commercial re-use of public data was widely prohibited, now everyone can create exciting new stuff based on the data that we all helped to pay for with our taxes, making Ireland’s public data real Open Data. We will of course continue our efforts to guide and counsel the public authorities on this topic, helping (and sometimes pushing them) forward to open up more data that is of importance for Ireland’s citizens. []Speaking of Open Data, we must admit that we have not been successful enough with our fight re-establish trust in Ireland’s charity sector by opening up Ireland’s charity data in 2015. While we still believe that it is the wrong way to spend millions of euros in a private company to digitize and re-sell charity budget data [], instead of simply creating an open and easy to use data base for a small percentage of these costs [], we accept that the Irish media may not seem this topic important enough to pick it up.We will continue with our efforts to open up more Irish Health Data []. We were able to join forces with Wikimedia Ireland to bring to you a special Open Health Data evening in the science gallery this January 20th. Please join us for discussions there:


JANUARY 20th (18:30-20:00), doors open at 18:00 REGISTER ON

Support us!

Please help us continue our work in 2016! We accept all kind of help, giving us your time and participation in our events, hosting space for events or virtual space for our web pages. We also accept bitcoins and various kinds of money, so supporting our fight for openness and transparency is just a click away: That leaves us just one more thing to wish for:

Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year 2016!

Maker Party: Health Data

- June 5, 2015 in Events, Hospital Waiting List, OGP Ireland, OKFN Ireland, Press Release

Join us on Saturday, 13. June, to prove that health data can be more useful if it’s accessible and available for reuse in open formats! Date: 13. June 2015
Time: 10am – 6pm
Venue: T-Cube Fleetstreet (next to Palace Bar)
Registration: We will be working all together on our Open Hospital Waiting List Project to:
  • increase transparency and accessibility of hospital data (i.e. waiting lists) through data liberation;
  • apply data to Open Street Map (OSM);
  • develop a strategy to make this information and the whole subject known to the wider public.
This April, over 190,000 people were waiting over six months for their first appointment with a hospital specialist in Ireland – of these over 11,000 were waiting more than 2 years. Waiting so long for that first specialist appointment results in poorer health outcomes, more expensive treatment and in some instance unnecessary and premature deaths. The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) publishes its Out­Patient Waiting list and In­patient/Day Case Waiting list reports in PDF format which makes them impossible to access automatically thus limiting their usefulness. Over the past few months Open Knowledge Ireland has scraped the data from these NTPF lists and created a dataset of easily accessible information, available on At our maker party we will drive this process even further with the goal to develop a movement for open health data in Ireland. Register here and get more information! Open Knowledge Ireland (h​ttps://​ is the regional chapter of the global non­profit Open Knowledge network. Open Knowledge Ireland is at the forefront of Ireland’s Open Data community with the aim of developing a self­sustainable, enabling ecosystem for open data to empower citizens and organisations to make better informed, evidence­based decisions. 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. We are passionate about openness, and using advocacy, technology and training to unlock data to enable people to create, manage and share knowledge.

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 Ireland in practice: Let the Sun Shine on Charity Transparency?

- January 27, 2015 in charity financial data, DPER, INKEx, OKFN Ireland, open charity data, Open Data Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland

In May 2013 Open Knowledge Ireland asked:  “Can data help Irish charities to win back the trust lost in recent scandals?”

Driven by this question and inspired by the successful implementation of in the US, Open Knowledge Ireland (OK Ireland) undertook a challenge to help Irish citizens and donors compare charities using a similar driven-by-data platform.

Initial research revealed that there was little or no relevant, publicly accessible data available in Ireland in useful for 21st century machine-readable format. OK Ireland and partners therefore needed to develop a methodology and a reporting standard to compile and construct an open dataset based on the audited annual reports of Irish charities.  We derived this standard from the UK’s Statement of Recommended Practice, Accounting and Reporting by Charities (SORP).

On a sunny Saturday morning on July 26th in 2014, qualified and engaged volunteers from civil society and the charities sector gathered to cap the exploratory phase of our project by crowdsourcing essential data and building a prototype of the data-driven platform.

In the course of our research and implementation, we looked at the INKEx model and its legacy with great interest. Between 2007 – 2012, this organisation sought to key in a dataset to a proprietary database and make extracts of this data publicly available through a “free website” with the purpose of creating “a public good for the benefit of civil society, not to generate profit” (See Sara Burke’s postmortem report on INKEx, commissioned by INKEx here, p.5). Without noting any irony this endevour has been presented to the public as an “open data project”.

According to public records €1.1 million of public money was invested in INKEx between 2009 and 2011, public funding was withdrawn in 2012 and INKEx ceased trading in 2013. However, the fruits of its endeavours and the data it collected are still not publicly available – rendering it difficult to judge whether it delivered on any of its objectives. (See case study, ibid, here.)

What was the return on this investment to the Irish taxpayer?

According to recent reports, INKEx has been contracted by D/PER for a second phase.

OK Ireland and the strategic partners involved in Open Charity Data project and in generating SORP v.2 are of the opinion that reviving INKEx is not a wise strategic decision for the following reasons:

  • The case study mentioned above, (ibid, p14) reported that there was “little understanding” as to how INKEx’s model could have cost €1-1.3 million per year (publicly and privately raised) on an ongoing basis. (ibid, p14). This cost is scarcely justifiable in 2014.
  • Smart and prudent public funding remains an issue. What was questioned as being of limited value then remains bad value now.  Building a closed service with inward focussed employees rather than harnessing public value, as was done in 2010 and 2012 is not progressive thinking. Public opposition to this practice is clearly evident in the example of Irish Water – high wage bills for publicly-funded organisations. The charity sector can do without another stick to beat it.
  • INKEx’s business plan was to own the data, commercially tendering to provide it to the newly-legislated Charity Registry on one hand, while on the other hand receiving public grants and philanthropy for the data’s collection and curation.  Why should this company receive funds to build a privately-held asset which is then sold back to the state?  (See Sara Burke report pp14).

In Open Knowledge’s view, charity data should not be owned and controlled by one company,  but by the Irish people and should be readily available to the public and the government at no charge, once collated.

Open Knowledge’s approach to helping charities share their financial data contrasts with the stated intentions and methodologies of INKEx. We would provide a platform for charities to share their data openly and publicly in a self-sustainable fashion. The outcome would be owned by the people of Ireland under an open licence (CC), making the relevant information available for anyone to use, reuse and share, in the spirit of Open Data, a vital 21st century movement in which the D/PER / Irish government has already invested ideologically and publicly.

More importantly, OK Ireland’s proposal is to gain broad engagement and participation by civil society in serving itself and its needs rather than vesting this responsibility in a private company. Our approach embraces a forward thinking practice that recognises the gain both financially and politically by harnessing participation, sharing the burden and collectively sharing the benefits.This shifts from a clientist model to a collectivist approach, which has proven to lead to socially-driven solutions to society’s needs through civil engagement across all stages of design, implementation and delivery.

Our project has been frequently shared with D/PER’s Reform Unit (slide deck). It was also presented to the newly appointed charity regulator (2-page case study .pdf). It has been clearly indicated that the project can be delivered at the fraction of cost of deploying a dedicated staff, by providing a value proposition for participants in serving their own needs (2-page appeal to charities .pdf). Instead of setting up a Quango, government could mandate a reporting format for charities, and make returns in this format a proviso for state grants. (HSE does exactly this for some NGO sectors). Once the data is in a standard format, there is no need for keying in this information manually.

D/PER’s Reform Unit, which has a task to make open data a reality in Ireland, was supportive with organising a workshop and we are very grateful for their support in beginning the process of changing the way in which we govern ourselves in Ireland. Open Data holds great promise. A promise embraced by one sector within D/PER, but this seems contrary to another unit minding INKEx within D/PER and holding fast to an antiquated approach to serving society without civil engagement.

There seems to be a contradiction in practise between the state declaring an understanding of the benefits of open data, while investing in old-school closed projects to compile proprietary datasets for commercial outcome.

Data is useful when it makes a difference by enhancing transparency and enabling evidence-based decisions. The loss of trust in Irish charities is estimated to have reduced donations by 5% in a €2 billion market. This equates to €100m every year being diverted from former charity recipients. Our Open Charity Data project has the built-in capacity to empower citizens and donors and win back their trust, thus potentially saving lives and boosting the quality of life standards for people in need.


WIKI Loves Monuments Ireland Event On August 26th

- August 24, 2014 in Events, OKFN Ireland

"Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world."
  This Tuesday 26th August 2014
at 6pm at St Audoen’s Church, Cornmarket, Dublin 8, members of the Wikimedia Ireland Community will present an introduction to Wiki Loves Monuments, an international photo contest, organised by Wikimedia, the foundation behind Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. There will be several short talks about the contest, the importance of cross disciplinary projects involving Ireland’s extremely rich cultural heritage, and examples about how 21st century digital tools can facilitate greater engagement. This is Ireland’s inaugural year of participation in the annual competition which since its inception has resulted in nearly one million freely licensed photographs being submitted to Wikimedia Commons
by tens of thousands of participants from over 50 countries. It is through local enthusiasts, researchers, and the cooperation of government, that Ireland’s cultural, historical, or scientific significance can be preserved and shared with the world. The Irish contest, focusing on Ireland’s national monuments, runs from August 23-September 30. Open Knowledge Ireland is happy to participate in this effort. More information:

European Commission follows advice by Open Knowledge and Creative Commons

- July 19, 2014 in OKFN Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, took the opportunity at the open knowledge festival 2014 in Berlin to present the new licensing recommendations to support the reuse of public sector information in Europe.
In it, the European Commission follows the advice of Open Knowledge to proposes the use of open licenses as defined by the Open Knowledge to promote unrestricted re-use of public sector data. They especially suggest to use the CC0 public domain license as defined by Creative commons, to allow “full flexibility for re-users” and to “reduce the complications associated with handling numerous licences, with possibly conflicting provisions.”
Further parts of the recommendations consists of guidelines on data sets, where governments should follow the priorities of the G8 Open Data charter, detailed advise on the data quality, accessibility, description, possibility of user feedback, etc. Also the important part of charges is included in the paper: “The Article 6(1) of the Directive does not preclude a zero-cost policy: it allows for documents to be made available for re-use free of charge.”
We heartily welcome this announcement and congratulate the European Commission for these well written and easy to understand guidelines!