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Travel arrangements for members of the Green Party who may be travelling abroad on government duty

category galway | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday March 11, 2010 11:26author by don mac namara - self Report this post to the editors

Troublesome response to a FOI request- interesting in light of Ms O Reilly's comment on Government grown too big to be accountable to electorate

A request to Green Party re travel arrangements for members has met with obfuscation and obscurantinism. Is this the party who espoused transparency , eschewed cronyism etc

I have been endeavoring to determine the travel arrangements for members of the Green Party who may be travelling abroad on government duty for St Patricks Day. I am interested to determine if any unnecessary travel is undertaken by that party's members, spouses, personal trainers or other ancillary staff.

I have tried local Govt. Information Services from whom I recd. a one line reply advising me to try the Green Party by was of FOI request
I have written a FOI request to
Senators Boyle , and O Brolochan and to Minister RYan and Mr Gormley. I have also written to the party HQ .
This last was the only one to reply who advised me that the Party HQ do not usually know which members are travelling where and that this is the prerogative of the relevant ministers. Again this was a throwaway way comment and treated as a nuisance .

Needless to say , I have indicated that I will pay in full for the costs of the verifiable expenses incurred in persuit oof a FOI request.Moreover I have suggested a variety means whereby I will make these funds available asaaap- Bank Draft, cheque , credit transfer etc.

I believe I am being subjected to that odious fallback position of totalarian regeimens ie ; that of stonewalling by obduracy , obfuscation and frank denial.

Ms O Reilly the Information Commissioner only in recent days has spoken of the abuse of power and the parliamentary system as it obtains in a parliamentary PARTICIPATORY democracy.

I am being denied this information ; information which might enable me to scrutinize the probity in government parties in the executing of their necessary duties with all due propriety .
We have seen many infractions of this abuse whereby a minister or agent of government has brought along his spouse or personal publicity manager or another at the taxpayer's expense .

Where can one find out about travel arrangements for all Green party members and their agents for St Patrick's day , where they are on government duty at the taxpayers expense .

Letter 1. to The Green Party;

FOI REQUEST TRAVEL GREEN PARTY MEMBERS OVERSEAS - ST PATRICKS DAY

29 Cois Cuain
Lower Salthill
Galway

0872474492
09154934

10.03.2010

For Attention of Liaison officer FOI requests Green Party Ireland

A Chara ,

I am writing to you for a second time regarding travel arrangements for Green party members on St Patrick’s day

I wish to determine by way of a FOI how many Green Party members , associates , secretaries, assistants ,managers and family members who will be travelling overseas ( anywhere abroad) for the conducting of official government duties for St Patrick’s day and any days connected with St Patrick day functions albeit these not occurring on St Patrick day.

I also wish to know what these duties will be and how much they will cost and precisely how they will benefit the state .Where a member of the travelling party is not elected by the general electorate, ( not a member of Seanad Eireann selected and elected by arrangement between parties,or a nominee of an Taoiseach ) be he /she acting in any capacity at any cost to the State I request to know who that party is , what function he /she carries out and how this function benifits the State .

I ask this of the Green party who sought to bring openness and transparency and an end to Gombeen politics and in this regard I would expect that the cost of retrieving this information should be proffered spontaneously and with minimum obfuscation ,and that the cost of the FOI request would be commensurately costed.

I will furnish any valid and verifiable costs ASAP. I will send these at the earliest opportunity by bank transfer, draft or cheque , which ever is the most expedient.

Please advise how I might most speedily pay these costs to you as time is of pressing importance as you choose to ignore my previous requests in this matter.

Le Meas

D. Mac Namara MB.. Bch B.A.O . Comdt - ( retd)

To which I recd the following reply

A Chara,

The Green Party head office has no involvement in the travel arrangements related to official Government duties. That is a matter for the Government Departments. Details of Ministerial visits are widely publicized every year. I you wish to get information by way of FoI, you will need to send such requests to the relevant Departments.

Regards,

Colm Ó Caomhánaigh

General Secretary

Green Party / Comhaontas Glas

I have simply requested information regarding the travel arrangements for all Green party members and their agents for St Patrick's day , where they are on government duty at the taxpayers expense .
I have agreed to pay all costs under the FOI guidelines
I have been stonewalled , and subjected to obfuscation and obscurantism redolent of a totalitarian regimen.
This is a little too rich coming as it does from a party who espoused probity , and promised to extirpate cronyism in Irish politics.

Is this what the Green Party have really become - an add on to a hubristic Fianna Fail Party, intoxicated with untrammeled power.

What do the Green Party stand for at all. Were they in this game for the seats and cars and pensions they so reviled when others had them; the expenses ? the adulation?
Or simply the naked lust for power at all costs and at who ever's expense. They were elected by a democracy but have distained the practice of democracy in power.
Do they have any relevance whatever in Irish politics now.

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The greens willingly joined with Fianna Fail knowing full well that they are criminals and have been for decades. So it should surprise no one that the tactics of Fianna Fail have been fully adopted by the Green party. We will not get democracy while either of these two parties hold power.
all the services of the State are under their controll so pleading with them will be fruitless.

author by donkylemore - selfpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 14:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I agree . The Greens have duped the people . From the facile phoney conference they held to go into government , whereby the noble Trevor Sergeant stepped aside and wriggled back into government with his former nemesis as a juniour minister.To the conference they held to stay in government where the proposal was a double negative , calculated to generate support -
A tendentious little venomous party the Greens are the Great Deceivers in Dail Eireann.
They extorted , exploited an erstwhile noble and altruistic political philosophy and stained it forever with their own cronyism , their own obfuscation and obscurantism.
They will do anything for power- and pensions etc. that's all it was ever about And in that they have deceived the electorate in a consummate manner . They are much more a caucus than a party- but really simply a gang of snide usurpers.

author by susan joyce - nonepublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The greens really have been such a disappointment in government.We all expected so much more from them. I was a Green supporter and have been since I first voted .I too would expect to be told about travel arrangements such as this writer- donkylemore - asked about. To be fobbed off in such a cursory manner is truly appalling.
It is exactly the sort of response you would expect from outright fascists.

I would encourage Mr donkylemore to pursue his request for a FOI query formally to the Green Party HQ indicating that the query is in fact a FOI request.
Should he fail to get the information requested I would advise him to go to the Information Commissioner's web site where he will find the rules governing Public Bodies and their obligations under the FOI terms of reference.
I for one would be interested in how he gets on.
Incidentally , I am NEVER voting Green again, and will vote whatever way it takes to get this deplorable government out of office .

author by DONKYLEMOREpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 16:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Glad you've seen the light Susan. What do we do to extirpate this odious government and their more vile and sel -centered ; self satisfied ; self indulgent middle class green poseurs from power ?
I will pursue the line of investigation as I set out ; never fear .
In this regard I have unearthed a little extract from the FOI Commissioner's web page. It states

PART II - 6. Access to Records

6.(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every person has a right to and shall, on request therefor, be offered access to any record held by a public body and the right so conferred is referred to in this Act as the right of access.

(2) It shall be the duty of a public body to give reasonable assistance to a person who is seeking a record under this Act.
I have passed a new request with this attachment / codicil to my FOI request..

Let us see how it develops . I am not expecting the stars but I will reject the moon.
The Greens are by this definition a public body or they are not. If they are not , They are some agency- a secret society perhaps? - trying to subvert the State .

author by Greenwatchpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 20:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Don,

I admire your efforts to see throught the Greenery but I'm afraid FOI legislation does not apply to the Green Party as such. However, it DOES apply to the Departments where their Green ministerial arses are warming (in a completely carbon neutral way, don't you know) chairs in Cabinet or junior ministries.

Don't waste your time sending FOI requests to bodies that are not under any obligation to comply. Send them instead to the Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport and you will find out who is going where with whom and at what cost.

Now, as to what benefit? Well, you could ask, I suppose, and get a meaningless answer about trade links, diaspora, international yawn-waffle or the brotherhood of man. I wouldn't bother. Ask for facts - they'll have to give you facts; ask for opinions - they'll give you theirs. But you wont like them.

author by donkylemore - selfpublication date Thu Mar 11, 2010 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Hi Green watch .
Thanks for your advice
I had written the following before I read your comment . It's a form of therapy I suppose .

And you mention gases etc ??
I loathe duplicity in politics ,relationships , transactions. Unfortunately I do not have the capacity to let the bone go. Its the canine in me .

**

The following was received from Green Party Headquarters re my FOI query.
I wonder if this really should close the matter. It is obviously a matter that rankles with the Greens . They seem singularly uncomfortable about divulging any information as to what their party members might enjoy at the taxpayers expense.
This is scarcely the manifestation of transparency in politics ; rather more a Chaouchesko-esque rapid response; terminal and unyielding.

**

A Chara,

I have answered your query about the Green Party’s position in as much detail as I have time for. FoI only applies to Public Bodies. It does not apply to the Green Party which is a membership organization.

This closes our correspondence on the matter,

Regards,

( Name appended *)
General Secretary

**
Any suggestions as to how I should pursue the matter further. Is it worth a muddle maze of byzantine acrobatics with this treacherous , heedless and much unloved party .
This is like the Church and its having information prized out of it in increments only to disclose half truthhs and in the end to transfer the charge back to the family as was dome last night.
Another spent force in Irish society - one which tried one last time to threaten its long suffering congregation- threatened the congregation to ''forgive them and pray for them - the church'.
So it seeemsit is with the Greens now . They have become the antithesis of what they once purported to be . They are the toxic insecticide to the sweetest rose , and have defiled the essence of what they pretended to be , the innocent flower of purity to bloom in the vile darkness of the untrusted knaves
But it has'nt turned out that way. When did they change ?
I would surmise that it came about like a Pauline conversion ( albeit a perverse one) on tha Damascene Highway once they saw a way to get mobile , by whatever highwayman would ferry them along.
They quickly met the most odious rogue on that route and jumped aboard the chariot of Fianna with the greatest of haste.
They quickly lost their chastity , flung the baggage of their electorate behind on the dusty track , and with palpitating exuberance the bounded on and into the cauldron of deceit and duplicity.
This is what has become evident to me over the course of this small investigation.
The other evidence is manifest in the wrongdoing ( why is it not ''criminal''?) of Sergeant and the shameless and ruthless ambition of de Burca.

The harlot who has traded once will without compunction seek further reward from the continuance of her trade . The Greens are the harlots of Dail Eireann . They will trade with any party which will accomidate them in any way.
But they are an unloved harlot - more a harridan now and her days are numbered .
I will think about bringing the matter to the Information Commissioner, but frankly this officer now sounds jaded and disilusioned .
The flower of the Greens is wilting under their own organic fertilizer. They will shrivel and die in due time .
There is a Season .. Time .. Time Time..

author by Spikepublication date Fri Mar 12, 2010 15:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just wondering why you need this information? Not questioning your right to same but I was wondering is it on 1). Environmental Grounds or 2). Political Grounds.
I am guessing by your follow up that you diislike the Greens, but I was just wondering if they could be hoisted on their own petard regarding their carbon footprint for any travelling that they or their fellow travellors may create?

author by Waynepublication date Fri Mar 12, 2010 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Found the greens to be the greatest crowd of spacers not into social issues and won't canvass council estates. Mary White is a rabbit

author by Sceptic - None whatsoeverpublication date Fri Mar 12, 2010 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could'nt agree more with the above comment , although 'word on the green green grass of home ' suggests The Greens
are indeed activly canvassing every single one of the 340,000 Empty apartments / house's that are lying idle across the
26 counties of Ireland , apparently it's part of their training in the ( likely ) event of an early General Election due to the latest
news that Harney is on her way out, coupled with latest scandal of disgraceful salary increase's 'awarded' to the Know-alls
of N.A.M.A. they could certainly do with the doorstep experience .
Wait until end of March 2010 when facts are about to be revealed . You read it first on Indymedia .

author by donktlemorepublication date Sat Mar 13, 2010 23:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hoisted by their own petard......
Perhaps . But I would suspect that they would misconstrue the subsequent explosion for a celebratory fireworks display in their honour - such has their vanity become.No I think the only hope is that the remainder of the faithful greens will ultimately cannibalize one another .
Its the way of a genetically flawed species.
The fissures and fault lines are already there in the petty jealousies the internal contradictions .
And with more vacancies looming they will surely start pulling oneanother's hair at the first whiff of the reshuffle .
How did they get in? From the great head to head - from the Gormley and Mc Dowell screaming match on the footpath during the last campaign ? After which McDowel threw his rattler out of the pram and resigned from public life - '' one of the quickest brains in the Four Courts'' -God ! THE GREAT DEBATE-
It was a little like Tommy Tiernan being out witted by Jordan on the Dunphy show some time back..
.. and the timeless jewel from Gorlmey ''The Planet Bertie ''speech.
.Yes ! I despise fraud and phoniness dressed up as some kind of altruism.
I have come to loath every one of them . But I've come to realize that that as they probabally loathe me already ,in those prophetic words '' those who hate you only succeed when you start hating them back.''-So I'll rest off now. Lets all do.
Thank you all for your contributions. It has been cathartic for me.

author by donkylemorepublication date Mon Mar 15, 2010 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors



Yes. I said I'd let it go . It has become a vice with me
But I just thought I'd piece together the various people and how they responded to a request regarding the whereabouts oof Green Party members for St Patricks day.
What comes across is their determination to reveal as little as is legally permissible or as little as they are likely to get away with
Since I started this thing it was my object to determine to what degree The Greens were prepared to '' stamp out cronyism in Irish politics.. transparency in government .. honesty and all of that.Now that 2 of their ministers have had to resign for ethical breaches of practice it seems that rather than being as oure as the driven snow, they are at least as corrupt as their senior partner.
They are as ravenous and ruthless for power than any party . And of course they are more secretive about their affairs than any as this little experiment has shown....
If , gentle reader you are tempted to read on , try to bear in mind that the request was simply about what Green Party members would be traveling abroad on St Patrick's day at the taxpayer's expense.

Not a scintilla of information is divulged ; This is justified on the basis of it having been published in the Irish Times .
Does this suggest a Niggardliness ??- or a demonstration of the Green Party's determination to route out cronyism..
***

Dear Mr McNamara,

Many thanks for your email, which was forwarded to me for response.

As Eamon Ryan is travelling for St Patrick’s Day in his official capacity as Minister, details of this trip are a matter for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, not the Green Party. This also means that no members of the Green Party travel with the Minister on such trips.

You may obtain full details of Ministerial travel through a Freedom of Information request to the Department. Details of how to submit a request can be found http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Corporate+Units/Freedom+of+Info...ation The Department will then furnish you with all the relevant details.

I hope this is of help to you and if I can be of any further assistance to on this or any other matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Claire

Claire Byrne

Personal Advisor to Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Tel: 6782124

Constituency Office:

4 Pembroke Cottages

Dundrum Mainstreet

Dundrum

Dublin 14

Tel: 2995513

From: Siobhan Greene
Sent: 15 March 2010 12:57
To: FOI UNIT
Cc: Claireanne Byrne; Eoin Wilson
Subject: FW: Travel Arrangements for members of the Green Party for St Patricks day 2010

Hi

Can you advise Mr MacNamara on making an official Departmental FOI request.

Many thanks

Siobhán

Ministers Office

Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

29-31 Adelaide Road

Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6782008

From: don macnamara [mailto:donmacnamara@hotmail.com]
Sent: 10 March 2010 21:29
To: eamon.ryan@oireachtas.ie
Subject: Travel Arrangements for members of the Green Party for St Patricks day 2010

0872474492
09154934

10.03.2010

Minister Ryan A Chara

I have sent a request regarding travel arrangements involving the Green Party for St Patricks Day and have recd. a less that helpful reply
If I am to understand your corespondents reply it would appear that the Green party HQ have no knowledge of which of their members are traveling ,if indeed they are traveling .
The onus appears to lie with the relevant Minister.
In this regard I am submitting to you the request under the FOI as to which Green members are traveling abroad on Government business for St Patricks Day functions.

I have now tried to obtain this information from ;

Green Party chairman Mr Gormley TD
Seanador O Bhrolochan
Seanador D Boyle
Galway branch of Govt Information services.
General Sect Green party .

The following is the correspondence . It is disappointingly void of any information, which is strangely inconsistent with a party which wishes to stop cronyism and introduce transparency in government. This sort of pass- the -parcel mindset which has led to the very worst form of unregulated governance which has brought this country to its knees,
Obduracy and obfuscation serves no one , ;least of all those who pay for the errors and deliberate aberrations , the tax payer , of who I am one.

Please read and advise soonest.

D Mac Namara MB.

cc. Information Commissioner

10.03.2010

For Attention of Liaison officer FOI requests Green Party Ireland

A Chara ,

I am writing to you for a second time regarding travel arrangements for Green party members on St Patrick’s day

I wish to determine by way of a FOI how many Green Party members , associates , secretaries, assistants ,managers and family members who will be travelling overseas ( anywhere abroad) for the conducting of official government duties for St Patrick’s day and any days connected with St Patrick day functions albeit these not occurring on St Patrick day.

I also wish to know what these duties will be and how much they will cost and precisely how they will benefit the state .Where a member of the travelling party is not elected by the general electorate, ( not a member of Seanad Eireann selected and elected by arrangement between parties,or a nominee of an Taoiseach ) be he /she acting in any capacity at any cost to the State I request to know who that party is , what function he /she carries out and how this function benifits the State .

I ask this of the Green party who sought to bring openness and transparency and an end to Gombeen politics and in this regard I would expect that the cost of retrieving this information should be proffered spontaneously and with minimum obfuscation ,and that the cost of the FOI request would be commensurately costed.

I will furnish any valid and verifiable costs ASAP. I will send these at the earliest opportunity by bank transfer, draft or cheque , which ever is the most expedient.

Please advise how I might most speedily pay these costs to you as time is of pressing importance as you choose to ignore my previous requests in this matter.

Le Meas

D. Mac Namara MB.. Bch B.A.O . Comdt - ( retd)

A Chara,

The Green Party head office has no involvement in the travel arrangements related to official Government duties. That is a matter for the Government Departments. Details of Ministerial visits are widely publicized every year. I you wish to get information by way of FoI, you will need to send such requests to the relevant Departments.

Regards,

Colm Ó Caomhánaigh

General Secretary

Green Party / Comhaontas Glas

16 Suffolk Street

Dublin 2

Ireland

Phone +353-1-6790012

Fax +353-1-6797168

www.greenparty.ie

author by Kieran Cunnane - Galway Green Party memberpublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From what I can gather your objective is to determine the money wastage made by any Green Party "members" in light of current economic difficulties which I'd say is 0€, and also a perceived lack of transparency by the Greens in answering your question.
What I'd say as a "member" of the Green Party is that the party has little resources (funds) compared to other parties in light of the lack of Corporate Donations for sending their members on any junkets.
The answer you've received re FOI outlines that it is Government Departments which includes the 2 Green Ministers in office at the time of St. Patrick's Day. You could I supose focus on that. I don't see why a party of such little resources would spend time investigating your request (in light of the serious state the Country is in) when they are not by FOI required to do so ?

I fail to see the point also as if Fine Gael or Labour were in power they would justify going on exactly same trips in the aims of trade etc. and in the name of boosting the Country's image. I've no doubt there's a balancing act as to how many places officials go to, and if you investigate you may well uncover money misspent, so to target the Greens in this seems pointless.

Our democracy is representative rather than participatory something which is undermined and damaged in times of crisis like today; some people lose faith in the system, more abandon FF who in the political domain caused most the problems and others again reject or complsin about the Greens for keeping FF in power . FG and Labour are not at all blameless as (apart from Labour to some extent on planning and they were not all angels here too) they did little to cry halt when all the stupidity was going on or at the very least didn't try hard enough. The greens highlighted the economic unsustainability of what was going on at some of their conventions. Regarding entering Government, they are a political wing of the environment movement and as such the best way to influence representative politics no matter the consequences is within Government.

However, the problems facing us in food and water security, peak oil and gas and other minerals, environmental destruction eating into the space available and killing us all slowly, loss of biodiversity (particularly bees which are respnsible for a third of all pollination), Climate Change and all their social and economic impacts make the current economic situation (as bad as it seems) look like small fry unless addressed. Human survival is gravely threatened in a relatively short timeframe most likely starting with a 2nd kick from peak oil and the severe implications on food security of Colony Collapse Disorder of bees unless addressed urgently.

Representative democracy seems to be failing in this regard as politicians seek to get re-elected every five or so years and the failure of Copenhagen reflects that.

I think all of our collective time would be better spent changing the political system in Ireland to get rid of the short-term thinking. The constitution is outdated. We also need to take a close look at ourselves as over and again people in the Country keep voting in FF and FG (whose Councillors not only allowed the unsustainable property and banking madness but fuelled it and in some cases benefited). Here in Galway the new City Development Plan being developed has several removals of recreation and amenity lands (depite the huge oversupply of both residential and commercial property) in favour of development zoning as the Council sees development as a means of raising much needed money - not sure whether this is driven by the officials or some Councillors or both. How to fund and what power to allocate to our Councils is a pertinent question which could be directed at the Minister for the Environment. One FG councillor here has been threatened with losing out on a mayoral term because she changed her mind on a a behind closed doors meeting between FF and FG (where they appear to be deciding among themselves (without the remaining Councillors) what rezonings are taking place), and for changing her mind based on the opinion of the planners. Replacing FF with a FG led Government does little to change things; the growth obsessed unsustainable economic model would still prevail as does corporate funding and many of the other ills. The only thing slowing the gallop of either party is public anger at much of what has gone on. The main purpose would be to punish FF for screwing up, and besides that what's the point.
Although you're not lying down, I'm afraid I see your efforts as barking up the wrong tree. Besides that too many people generally are sitting on their hands or in front of the TV and then complaining. Others are stiking in anger at pay cuts which again is pointless as the money isn't there to pay them and most of these workers voted FF (who sweetened the very same Unions now leading us into the crippling of the Country). Few are mobilising in a constructive fashion for a fair and transparent political system which could then turn the current difficulties into solutions, politics with power at the lowest effective level coupled to policies based on the long-term good. Today's angry masses voted mostly mé féin over and over just as the Unions are facilitating for mé féin today. It will be those same worker's brother, siter, cousin or neighbour or even themselves who end up out of a job as a consequence. Loss of income isn't one bit fair but the public service is funded by the diminishing private. At some point we need to move beyond the anger stage and fast forward to constructive change and recognise that mé féin is not an option. A change of Government in its own right is pointless without systematic change.

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