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Ireland and the Freedom of Information ActFOI@15$
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Maura Adshead and Tom Felle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097188

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097188.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 17 June 2021

Two steps forward and one step back

Two steps forward and one step back

political culture and FOI

Chapter:
(p.32) 2 Two steps forward and one step back
Source:
Ireland and the Freedom of Information Act
Author(s):

Maura Adshead

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097188.003.0003

This chapter gives particular consideration to the political culture in which Irish approaches to governmental secrecy and freedom of information evolved and developed. It notes that openness and transparency in government institutions were not high priorities for the fledgling Irish state. Fresh from fighting the War of Independence and in the midst of Civil War, the Free State government that was established with Irish independence was driven by an expedient imperative to maintain control. From these beginnings, many have noted that the Irish state system that subsequently evolved was characterised by a centralised and secretive approach to government – governed more by pragmatics than principle. It is from this starting point that Chapter 2 documents the political and administrative culture of the Irish state as it evolved throughout the last century, demonstrating that once institutional norms are established, they take a great deal of effort and directed political intention to shift them. The chapter looks at Irish attitudes to FOI and illustrates the unevenness of reform efforts over the years, as well as the prospects for a future re-orientation.

Keywords:   Political culture, Government secrecy, Historical background

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