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15th Jan 2017

Government WhatsApp group messages from after Brexit released under Freedom of Information Act

Alan Loughnane

It’s the first time messages from a WhatsApp group have been released under FOI.

The messages from a Government WhatsApp group have been released to RTÉ News under the Freedom of Information Act.

The group was set up following the historic Brexit vote last June which saw Britain voting in favour of leaving the European Union.

The function of the group was to manage the the media around the Brexit result, and it seems to have worked a treat for the the group members with one message saying: “WhatsApp has worked out great. Thanks for your help.”

The documents have been redacted with names of those involved blacked out but you can still get a great picture of what was going on behind the scenes on June 24, 2016.

This is the first time messages from a WhatsApp group have been released under FOI.

The group discusses plans of action and also the various media reaction to the result.

In one exchange, a Tweet by Gerard Howlin is brought up which they worry will become a theme following the vote. The Tweet questions the wisdom of the Irish Government actively campaigning for a Remain vote in the UK prior to the election as it may have compromised their effectiveness in negotiations after the referendum.

However, the Tweet is given a short answer by one of the group members who says: “How wise after the fact. He’s wrong. Again.”

Another exchange speaks about MEP Brian Hayes appearing on Newstalk Breakfast but is dismissed as Mr Hayes is not a member of government.

You can read the full documents on RTÉ here.

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