Governments and websites – today’s lessons

Taoiseach* Bertie Ahern gave a nice speech yesterday to mark the launch of the Statute Law Revision Bill 2007 – the centrepiece of a major project of the Attorney General’s office. The Bill repeals literally thousands of laws from the pre-independence period, including Irish and English laws spreach across 800 years§ of law/oppression/good government/imperial joy/delete as appropriate. Long overdue, and also a fascinating project. When I checked in on it last year, I noticed a few interesting English legal landmarks, such as the Bill of Rights, on the list of statutes being ‘repealed’ (in reality, most have been updated and replaced with better provisions, so it’s not as bad as it sounds!)

I wanted to throw a few examples up here, but guess what? The page and set of links on attorneygeneral.ie has hardly any working links – multiple Word documents (bad points for accessibility, incidentally) but virtually none of them actually available. The Oireachtas (parliament) website doesn’t even have a copy of the Bill. You would think that after going to the effort of running the project and launching the Bill at a nice press conference, the techies could make sure that the relevant text was available. You would think.

Update 11/1: the project team left a nice note on this post, which you can see under comments – fair dues to them for the quick response, and for fixing the problem with broken links. They all work now. They rightly point out that I should have emailed them with a description of the problem, and I hold my hands up there – mea culpa, I did intend to but got distracted.

Over in the UK, the Cabinet Office announces that hundreds of websites are to be closed or consolidated – repealed, if you will! They note a trend towards ‘supersites’ (seven years ago, we would have said portals, but most people saying that lost their shirts in the crash, I suspect!) which I’m not convinced is entirely accurate. The announcement came as part of the launch of the (terribly titled) ‘Transformational Government‘ report. Maybe the authors could tell the AG’s office how important it is to check your links?

* Pronounced ‘tea shock’. It’s what happens when you don’t get your daily cup of chai. (Actually, Irish prime minister, but my version is better)
§ All together now. Eight hundred years. EIGHT HUNDRED YEEEAAARSSS..

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3 thoughts on “Governments and websites – today’s lessons

  1. Thanks to Daithi for pointing out some difficulties on the Pre-Independence Project website. We think these have been corrected. If any other problems arise, please contact us directly at preindependence@ag.irlgov.ie.

    It is would be easier for us to correct these problems if you tell us about them, rather than just mentioning them on your Blog! 🙂

    The reason why the lists on the website are currenty in Word is because they have been subject to minor changes from time to time, pursuant to our ongoing consultation process. Putting them in Word has facilitated the project team in making those updates more frequently, and we were not aware of any problem with that format. Apologies if that caused anyone any difficulties.

    That consultation process is now closed, and the Statute Law Revision Bill is in the process of being published. That Bill will be available on the Oireachtas website within a few weeks in PDF version, which we hope will make life easier for people to access.

    Anyone with any other questions can contact us directly at the above email address.

    Thanks for the interest!

    The Pre-Independence Project team

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