Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 11 May, 2005

Ceisteanna — Questions. - Departmental Website.

  1. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach the frequency with which his Department’s website is updated; if he has satisfied himself with the quality of the website of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11822/05]

  The Taoiseach: My Department’s three websites are updated regularly and new information and publications are added as necessary. Each division is responsible for ensuring the information on their own area of the Department’s websites is accurate and up to date. There are four people within the Department with access to update the content on the websites as required.

[345] The Department’s websites are regularly tested for broken links and to ensure that they are compliant with the WAI level 2 accessibility guidelines. These are universal principles for publishing information on the Internet, which include the promotion of a high degree of usability for people with disabilities.

  Mr. Rabbitte: I do not recognise the Taoiseach’s reply from the information that I have. The Taoiseach’s site is rarely updated. For example, when I put down the question on 12 April, the most recent item under the “latest news” section was a statement dated 14 March which listed planned trips by Ministers for St. Patrick’s day. The most recent speech or statement from the Taoiseach was his address to the EU — US summit on 22 February. Similarly, on 12 April, the most recent item under “news” was the Department’s strategy statement for 2003 to 2005 which was posted in 2003 and the most recent item under “Government press releases” was the announcement on 25 January from the Government Chief Whip concerning the legislative programme for that Dáil session. The Taoiseach’s website is meant to be the Government’s flagship website. I also noticed that if a person from any part of the world wishes to log on to “Bertie Ahern”, he or she is immediately transferred to the Taoiseach’s website, thus establishing clearly proprietorial ownership of that office.

  Ms Hanafin: That is because he is the Taoiseach.

  Mr. Rabbitte: That is true. The Minister for Education and Science has reason to be grateful to him. As a democrat I accept this. However, it would be helpful to the rest of the world and to his “subjects” if he kept his website updated.

  The Taoiseach: I will not argue with Deputy Rabbitte about this issue. The website should be updated all the time. For their own reasons, the departmental staff do not put up every statement. They tend to put up major statements on the programme. They do not put items up on a daily basis as I have seen for myself. The www.bettergov.ie website, which concerns modernisation and better regulation also seems to have more material on it. However, the main site provides a range of information with regard to the functions and workings of the Department. Not all the statements made by myself or the Ministers of State at the Department are put up. The main reports and issues are put on the site. I will bring some of the issues raised by the Deputy about how people are accessing the site to the Department’s attention.