independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

FitzGerald issued dos and don'ts to ministers

NEWLY elected ministers and ministers of state were given a dos and don'ts guide to their behaviour in office as the government sought to restore faith in a battered democracy.

Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald was anxious to "learn how to do things better" following his previous spell in office as he set out his work ethic vision to his new team of ministers and juniors in December 1982.

The country had been bruised by three general elections in the space of 18 months.

As Dr FitzGerald took over the reins of power once more following the November 1982 general election, he told his ministers it was "essential" the government offered national leadership and that it worked to "restore faith in our democratic institutions".

Department of the Taoiseach files tell how in a four-page letter inviting individuals to join his ministerial team, he issued guidelines on the secrecy of cabinet discussions, travelling abroad and dealing with junior ministers and apologised "for writing at such length and in such didactic terms".

"But I thought it right to share with you my reflections following the experience we had of government during the eight months from June 1981 to March 1982," he explained.

"The value of that period of 'apprenticeship' in government is that it gave many of us a chance to learn how to do things better," he urged.

Restoring faith in democratic institutions would mean giving the opposition a much bigger role and seeking their involvement and cooperation, he told his new team.

Irish Independent

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