On 4 March last I phoned the office of the Minister for Justice to find out the names of the Gardai who, we are told, were disciplined for their part in the penalty points scandal.
The Department refused to answer what is a very simple, very straightforward question.
On 15 April last I submitted a formal complaint to the Information Ombudsman on the matter.
Yesterday, April 25, I received the following disturbing reply from the Information Ombudsman.
Dear Mr Sheridan,
I refer to your recent complaint to this Office in connection with the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Ombudsman may investigate complaints against Government Departments and Offices, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive, bodies within the remit of the Disability Act, 2005 and a number of additional bodies since 01 May 2013.
However, this Office is precluded from examining the issues you have raised in your online complaint. This exclusion includes complaints about the failure of the Department to reply to your correspondence.
If however, you give me your consent to do so, I can refer your correspondence directly to the Department for consideration, following which your case will be closed in this Office and no further action will be taken.
If you are happy for this Office to forward your complaint directly to the Department, please reply to this correspondence by no later than 2 May 2014.