Sunday 25 February 2018

Openness and transparency can only serve us well

THE publication of a new database on commercial leases marks an interesting development in this country's slow and hesitating march towards openness and transparency. It comes just a few months after the State began publishing reliable information about individual house prices and follows the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's decision to create a website with significant amounts of data presented in a digestible format for both individuals and academics.

Despite gloomy warnings from those with vested interests, the decision to publish house prices has not had any obvious ill-effects on the property market and yesterday's decision to publish details of leases is also likely to steady nerves.

Still, things are far from rosy here and the Government remains secretive and unhelpful in many areas when it comes to making data available to citizens. Information about everything from water quality, hospital outcomes to the identity of landlords and schools' academic records could, and should, be made public. The information exists in digital form but the State does not trust us with the so-called big data that would allow us to come to our own conclusions about the best hospitals and schools.

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