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One-stop shop for statistics on our State goes live

A new website that allows the public, academics and the media to chart the Government's progress and cost-effectiveness goes live today.

Officials hope the website, irelandstat.ie, will act as a one-stop shop for anybody looking for statistics on the economy and many other areas of life in Ireland.

Unlike many other government websites around the world, irelandstat.ie allows users to chart the cost of many government programmes.

The website is going live on a trial basis until Christmas, when officials will look for feedback to make improvements.

The site is a commitment to the troika and the new Coalition's programme for government, which aims to increase transparency.

Officials say it was developed with the ordinary public in mind, rather than academics, and the main focus is to make it relatively simple to get hold of reams of data that were previously contained in government reports that are difficult to find.

There is a strong focus on data that can be turned into graphs or compared with similar data in other countries.

Simple arrows allow users to see at a glance whether a government programme is performing better, worse or in line with expectations.

It also aims to present all information under four headings: what is being done, how much it cost, what's happening overseas and what are the trends.

While the website has been developed for the public as well as academics, students and researchers, officials also hope that it will encourage civil servants to chart their performance against government targets and other countries.

"This bring things together in a clear and logical way," Brian Hayes, the junior minister responsible for the website, said yesterday.

"We're starting small with a pilot, as we want to walk before we run, but we hope to roll the website out to cover all areas of Government next year," Mr Hayes said.

Irish Independent