Office of Public Works arrogantly refuses to answer questions

For over two weeks now I’ve been attempting to extract some very simple answers from the Office of Publc Works (OPW) regarding the large number of art work that has gone missing from Leinster House.

I’ve been through all the usual hoops – several emails, numerous phone calls, moved from extension to extension, from office to office, sidelined into the Press Office, put it in writing Mr. Sheridan, listened to officials trying to sound professional as they tell me fairy tales until, finally, I hit the standard bureaucratic brick wall.

The brick wall arrived, at is usually does, when I insisted on knowing the precise legislative basis for refusing to answer my questions.

I would be grateful if you could confirm to me the precise rules/regulations/laws on which your office is refusing to answer my questions on this matter.

I received the following email which, without exception, is the most arrogant/dismissive response I have ever received from a public official.

A public official who, in theory, is supposed to be working in the best intersts of Ireland and its citizens.

The form of the email is exactly as I received it.

Mr. Sheridan,

I refer to previous emails and telephone conversations. Please see responses below.

What are the name, position and rank of the person/s responsible for the safe keeping of the missing items?

The OPW Art Management Office manages the State Art Collection.

What action has been taken in response to the missing items?

The OPW Art Management Office is not in a position to confirm that items are missing.

In particular, what action has been taken in respect of items that went missing prior to the last general election?

The OPW Art Management Office is not in a position to confirm that items went missing prior to the last general election.

What is the overall time period in which the items went missing?

The OPW is not in a position to confirm that items are missing.

Please supply a list of the estimated value of each missing item.

The OPW is not in a position to confirm that items are missing. Therefore it is not possible to supply such a list.

Please supply a list of the exact offices/locations from which items went missing.

The OPW is not in a position to confirm that items are missing. Therefore it is not possible to supply such a list.

Please supply a list of the officials/politicians who occupied offices from which items went missing.

The OPW is not in a position to confirm that items are missing. Therefore it is not possible to supply such a list.

Please confirm or otherwise if members of the public are entitled to speak directly to OPW officials regarding this matter.

I confirm that responses will issue to you from the OPW Press office.

I would be grateful if you could confirm to me the precise rules/regulations/laws on which your office is refusing to answer my questions on this matter.

As previously stated the OPW is currently not in a position to answer questions relating to the ongoing art inventory.

I trust the above clarifies the matter.

Regards

A freedom of information request is on the way.

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  1. Frank Street’s avatar

    You might also enquire why the FOI section of the OPW site has not been updated since 2008. Surely it can’t be a reflection of their utter contempt for the Freedom of Information Act.

  2. wormhole’s avatar

    The reply is more than adequate,and tells you everything you need to know.

    “The OPW Art Management Office manages the State Art Collection”

    Means: We have a regulatory duty to manage the state art collection

    “The OPW Art Management Office is not in a position to confirm that items are missing”

    Means: We have failed utterly in that duty.

    Im rather suprised they were that honest.