News Brendan Keenan

Sunday 4 December 2016

Brendan Keenan: Broom of reform has to sweep away our 'yes, Minister' culture

Published 10/03/2011 | 05:00

A returned exile -- yes, there are some -- remarked that what had struck him about coming home after many years abroad, was how polite everyone was. The rest of us fell about laughing.

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But he insisted. In other countries, people were much more inclined to argue vigorously face to face, he maintained. We have slagging, which may be a kind of substitute. We can also, in my view, be quite aggressive, but that is different from honest disagreement.

The conversation came to mind reading the Wright report on the Department of Finance. It is a fairly rum document. The core issue is the €6bn difference between the Budgets of the past ten years and the fiscal parameters drawn up by the Department each June, but there is nothing on how the difference came to evolve.

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