Saturday 20 January 2018

The twin passions of the Taoiseach's top official

Senior civil servant Martin Fraser
Senior civil servant Martin Fraser


Meetings with ministers, briefings with top officials, watch the Brazil v Croatia match - it's all in a day's work for Taoiseach Enda Kenny's top civil servant.

The highly respected Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach, Martin Fraser, has revealed his sports obsession in his official diary, which included time to watch many of the World Cup's top matches.

Most if not all of the World Cup matches occurred after normal office hours, but their inclusion in his official diary reflects Mr Fraser's passion for the 'beautiful game'.

Apart from his demanding official schedule, which often runs to 12 hours a day, Mr Fraser included time in his diary to watch the opening match of the World Cup on June 12 in which Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1. Other World Cup games listed included Spain's 5-1 demolition of Holland on June 13 and Uruguay's 2-1 defeat of England on June 19.

He also included Dublin's Leinster Championship matches at Croke Park against Laois on June 8 and Wexford on June 29.

Back in May, Mr Fraser cleared his diary to watch the Shamrock Rovers versus Liverpool match at the Aviva Stadium, while also making time for the La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletico Madrid on May 17.

He also scheduled time on May 5 to watch the crunch 3-3 draw between Crystal Palace and Liverpool which effectively ended the Anfield club's hopes of winning the Premier League.

A Department spokesman told the Sunday Independent that Mr Fraser might not have actually watched all the games listed in his diary.

Mr Fraser's earlier diaries reflect his passion for music and he attended performances by US rapper Jay-Z and indie band The National at the O2 venue in Dublin.

On more weighty matters, Mr Fraser's diary shows he held a meeting with the departing Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell and his second in command Michael Flahive on Tuesday May 6 - the day before Alan Shatter resigned as Justice Minister on foot of the Guerin report.

As with several other top officials across Government departments, Mr Fraser publishes his diary on the department's website on a quarterly basis.

Mr Fraser is highly respected by politicians and his fellow civil servants and is heavily relied upon by Mr Kenny.

The Government appointed Mr Fraser to his current post in July 2011.

Prior to that he was Assistant Secretary in the Department since 2007, having previously been Director of the Northern Ireland Division. He holds a B Comm Degree from UCD and an Msc (Econ) Degree from Trinity College Dublin.

Sunday Independent

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