I have called on the Taoiseach, in his first Dáil debate since being elected to the role, to urge his Government officials to utilise digital technologies when answering queries. The programme for Government includes a commitment to improve the flow of information from Departments to Deputies. The portfolios announced recently included a range of digital responsibilities, including e-government, and various titles related to digital matters, yet every second time I ask a parliamentary question in this House or to a State agency, I receive a raft of paperwork in response. Very often a short memo states the relevant Department will be in touch and a letter is sent. Soon I will have enough of these missives to paper my entire office.
The benefits of electronic communication need hardly be restated. They include efficiency, savings on costs such as print and postage and the cost to the Exchequer, not to mention the obvious environmental benefits of soft copy communication. If one was to be cynical, one might even think that it was designed to obfuscate the communication in this manner. Can the State lead by example? Can Government communications improve and move to the digital age? Will the Taoiseach issue a memo to Government to that effect?.
I am keen to see the Taoiseach progress this initiative so I can get answer for my constituents in a timely manner. I will continue to press the Taoiseach for progress on this policy.
You can read the full transcript of the debate here.