First week in the asylum: I lost my licence, not my drive
New Minister for Transport Shane Ross adapts to life with mandarins, quangos and the number 44 bus
Good grief, these public servants work round the clock. My mobile was buzzing last Sunday morning as the mandarins tried to contact their errant minister. I had been appointed the previous Friday and had gone AWOL on the Saturday. The wheels of the Transport department were working 24/7. The permanent Government wanted to deliver some of the department's dreaded "documents".
They did. The mandarins always get their man. By midday a delightful mandarin had me cornered. Buried in paperwork in Enniskerry's Powerscourt Arms I knew the game was up. My first working day as Minister for Transport was on the Sabbath. Slave drivers, these public servants. Or at least some of them. By midnight, I was becoming familiar with an encyclopedia of acronyms and a host of state agencies, the outfits I have always called "quangos".
And I always will. But even if my new department is rich in quaking quangos, it is important to see how they work. So on Monday morning, I abandoned my banger for a service and took to the buses. I bought my Leap Card and took the number 44 from Enniskerry into Dublin's Earlsfort Terrace.