The Government’s new information portal MerrionStreet.ie went live last night, carrying its first reports of the Taoiseach’s €500m Innovation Ireland Fund launched yesterday in New York and messages of sympathy over the tragic road deaths in Donegal.
As first reported on Siliconrepublic, MerrionStreet.ie represents a new approach by the Government Information Service (GIS) to presenting news and State information, employing tools like Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and WordPress.
The new site went live with both good news and bad news. The good news was the State has unveiled a €500m venture capital fund that will attract not only the world’s best inventors and investors but will spearhead the growth of new generations of indigenous Irish industry.
The new site was also the conduit for the Taoiseach’s message of sympathy, including audio, on the tragic road deaths in Donegal at the weekend of eight young people.
Most of the information, from speeches to photos and video on the newswire-style site, will be capable of being "shared" to a wider internet audience whose users can post information to their Facebook statuses, tweet their followers or link the information to their blogs or websites.
The team told Siliconrepublic that the project took five months to pull together. They said they had seen what other nations, like the UK and France, had done in terms of embracing free social media tools and cited Number10.gov.uk as a particular inspiration.
“The idea is to have a single place where people can access all related Government news and share it with the world,” a spokesman told Siliconrepublic last week.
While the Taoiseach and other ministers will soon be able to tweet to the nation, the GIS said the MerrionStreet.ie resource will not be used as a political tool by any party in power.
“This is a Government site. We believe it will stand the test of time very well and will be a key asset for any Government.”