Could Irish State bodies export e-government know-how?

26 Apr 2012

Fáilte Ireland scooped the overall eGovernment Award 2012 for its Discover Ireland website. It has been suggested that money could be raised for the Exchequer if e-government leaders got together and sold their know-how abroad.

The awards were presented by the Minister for Expenditure and Public Reform Brendan Howlin, TD.

At the awards, organiser Maeve Kneafsey of Elucidate said much-needed funds could be raised for the Exchequer if know-how gained by fast-moving Irish State bodies in the e-government space was commercialised and sold overseas.

“I am not suggesting some large new Quango,” Kneafsey explained. “What I’m thinking about is a small unit (An Bord Click?), headed up by one of the leaders in the area of e-government, aided by commercial expertise that could sell what the Irish taxpayer has already paid for and increasing our return on investment (ROI). 

“In the commercial world this is what we would refer to as a ‘profit centre’. This would make money for the country and that amount could run into millions of euro if done properly. In this, the eleventh year of the awards, I know that there is a very deep well of ground-breaking e-government expertise, frameworks and applications available, sitting there to be exploited,” she urged. 

Head of the judging panel, Declan Tuite, of the DCU School of Communications, said one of the overriding trends has been the increased use of social media by State bodies in Ireland.

“Last year, one of the key trends the judges asked for in the future was for a fuller use of social media. We could not have imagined how quickly that has become a reality as demonstrated by this year’s winners. 

“The adoption of Twitter, for example, by winners such as Irish Rail using social media to keep passengers up to date, or Discover Ireland enticing holiday makers to make Ireland their destination of choice and the amazing rich insights into our literary history from the National Libraries, both through their really clever use of Facebook,” Tuite said.

Category winners – 2012 Irish eGovernment Awards

Ireland eGovernment Accessible Award – Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources for Pilot 112 SMS service

Ireland eGovernment Central Award – Health Service Executive (HSE) for ‘Get Ireland Active’

Ireland eGovernment Cross Agency Award – HSE for National Cancer Control Programme – Electronic Cancer Referral Project

Ireland eGovernment Education Award – Health Service Executive for ‘Get Ireland Active’

Ireland eGovernment Innovation Award – OSI for Decision Map

Ireland eGovernment Irish Language Award – An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) for iTunes U Na Gaeilge

Ireland eGovernment Local Award – Wexford County Council – Map

Ireland eGovernment Marketing Award – Fáilte Ireland – Discover Ireland

Ireland eGovernment Mobile Award – The Citizens Information Board

Ireland eGovernment Open Source Award – Fix Your Street, South Dublin County Council

Ireland eGovernment Promoting Ireland Overseas Award – Mayo County Council for the Mayo Diaspora Project

Ireland eGovernment Social Media Award – National Library of Ireland

Ireland eGovernment State Body Award – Irish Rail

Ireland eGovernment Special Merit Award – Very special recognition for Fix Your Street

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years