New strategy to make better use of open data in Ireland

23 Nov 2023

Image: © David Soanes/

The five-year strategy aims to create easy access to high-quality government data to promote trust and innovation across the public sector.

A new open data strategy has been launched to make data held by public bodies freely available and easily accessible online for reuse.

Launched today (23 November) by Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, TD, the five-year strategy will provide a framework to ensure the best use of data across public sectors and will include guiding goals for data publishers, data users and the development of an open-data platform.

“Open data is central in driving the delivery of better public services across Ireland. It provides a rich evidence base to inform decisions, ensuring we are creating effective and inclusive services,” said Donohoe.

“Delivering more efficient public services that are fair and transparent builds trust in government, which is fundamental for a healthy functioning democracy. Open data is a vital component in this.”

The role of open data became particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic as it meant public services were able to share vital information quickly, efficiently and ethically during a time of crisis. The pandemic also saw researchers granted access to Ireland’s Covid-19 data research hub, helping to advance research and understanding around the virus.

The new strategy follows on from the previous national open data strategy for 2017-2022, which was approved by Government and published in July 2017.

Ireland developed its first Open Data Portal in 2014 when it released more than 418 datasets from 45 public bodies. The portal was developed by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at University of Galway in line with international best practice.

Since then, Donohoe said the country as made impressive progress in the world of open data. “We went from ranking 18th in the EU in 2017 to ranking first for open data maturity in 2018, 2019 and 2020, setting the gold standard for open-data management across Europe,” he said.

“This strategy builds upon this strong foundation and continues to seek further ways to ensure that open data is utilised to its full potential for the benefit of all the people of Ireland.”

Currently, there are more than 17,000 datasets from almost 150 publishers hosted on the Open Data Portal, which are all freely accessible.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic