Minister Donohoe launches public consultation process for the national Open Data Strategy 2017-2022

20th June, 2017

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D, today (Tuesday) launched a public consultation on the draft national Open Data Strategy 2017-2022.

Studies show that publication of official non-personal data in open format has the potential to drive more effective decision-making and efficient service delivery, spur economic growth, and empower citizens to take an active role in improving their own communities.  The draft Strategy builds on the achievements already made by public bodies and guides the Open Data Initiative by setting out a vision and objectives, and the actions considered necessary to achieve them over the next 5 years and beyond.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘Much has been achieved since the launch of the Initiative in 2014, with 97 public bodies having published over 4,800 high quality datasets in open format on the portal  The aim of the strategy is to put an ecosystem in place to enable the potential of Open Data to be exploited and to develop niche areas for Ireland to develop core competencies and be a leader in Open Data’.


Two core objectives of the strategy are the publication of high value government data in open format, making it publicly available and freely reusable; and engaging with a broad community of stakeholders to promote use of the data for the benefit of all sectors of the economy.  The Minister said: ‘Transparency is at the heart of our agenda for government.  We believe that opening up data will empower citizens, foster innovation and reform public services.  Publication of valuable data such as government spending, enables the government to be held to account, while the release of raw data such as real time travel information, planning, health, environmental, educational and other data all allow the public sector, business and entrepreneurs to develop innovative products and services for the public’.     


The draft Open Data Strategy was prepared under the leadership of the Open Data Governance Board with input from key stakeholder representatives from business, civil society groups, researchers/academia, librarians/information professionals and the Public Bodies Working Group on Open Data.  This further public consultation provides an important opportunity for everyone to reflect on our priorities for Open Data and how Open Data can be fully utilised to ensure the potential benefits are realised.  Submissions may be forwarded by email to or by post to the Open Data Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, 7-9 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, and will be accepted up to close of business on 4 July 2017. They may be published on the Department’s website. 

Note to Editors:

A common definition of Open Data’ is that a piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share alike. 

The draft Strategy sets out actions under seven strategic themes: broadening the range of public bodies actively engaged in the Open Data Initiative; broadening the scope of the Initiative and improving the quality, quantity and range of datasets available on the portal; continued engagement with stakeholders to encourage the use of Open Data; the provision of a framework to support and train public bodies in their Open Data activities; the evaluation of the impacts and benefits of the Initiative and ensuring that effective governance structures are in place to implement the Strategy.

Open Data can lead to more transparency and accountability of public bodies, and better data discipline in public bodies, providing for greater efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and more citizen participation and inclusion. In terms of economic gains, these are expected to be generated in the areas of business innovation and creation, by creating opportunities for Open Data-inspired products or services and job-creation. The European Commission (2015) report ‘Creating Value through Open Data – Study on the Impact of Re-Use of Public Data Resources’ estimates that direct market size for Open Data in Ireland in 2020 will be €966 million, with an estimate of around 1,000 Open Data-related jobs. It also estimates general cost savings to the public sector of €20 million in 2020.

Open Data is aligned with key Government priorities such as the ICT Strategy, the Public Service Reform programme, the Civil Service Renewal plan and the National Data Infrastructure Initiative. It is also aligned with the Open Government Partnership Action Plan and the Re-Use of Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive and Regulations. Publication of datasets in Open Data format also complements the Publication Scheme requirement under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, which promotes wider publication of information as a matter of course.

Public consultation has previously been undertaken which contributed to the drafting of the Foundation Document for the development of an Open Data Strategy, and this input, as well as the subsequent bilateral consultation between the Open Data Governance Board and representative groups has influenced the development of this Strategy.  Notwithstanding this previous consultation, and given the passage of time since then, and in recognition of the fact that Open Data is constantly evolving, the draft Strategy is now being published for further consultation prior to finalisation.