Monday 23 October 2017

Elaine Byrne: For our ruling 'law and order' party, rules are optional

Elaine Byrne

'Implicit in the minister's position is an expectation that. . . we can decide when it suits us to obey the law and we can disregard the law where it is troublesome or inconvenient to abide by it."



Emily O'Reilly's extraordinary remarks to the Oireachtas committee on public service, oversight and petitions last Thursday were off the Richter scale.

That an Ombudsman would so openly criticise the Department of Health for its "culture of prevarication, disregard for the law and an inability to take hard decisions" is unprecedented, to put it mildly. Public servants are not in the habit of publicly airing stringent views on the actions of ministers and their departments. So on the rare occasions they do, we should pay deliberate attention.

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