John Moran's parting words leave me speechless
A few months ago I stood in a crowded lift in the Department of Agriculture. It stopped at the second floor. In stepped the dark figure of Ireland's Mr Austerity, John Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance.
Instead of greeting him with the respect normally given to top civil servants I foolishly tried a joke: "Oh my God!" I bellowed out to the other people in the lift, "Hold onto your wallets."
All my fellow passengers looked suspiciously at John. For one split second I could see the libel lawyers lurking. Moran, to his eternal credit – and my immense relief – smiled, sighed sympathetically at such a juvenile jibe and got out at the next floor. The remaining passengers looked mightily relieved.