Friday 19 January 2018

The civil service will always resist radical change

It's no wonder officials in Finance did not do more to stop reckless economic policies, writes Eamon Delaney

THIS week's revelations about senior officials in the Department of Finance and what they did and didn't do to prevent the overheating of the economy emerge at an appropriate time, given the formation of a new Government and the question of how that Government will interact with senior officials.

The situation faced by the officials in Finance illustrates the dilemma faced by senior civil servants when their political masters are taking actions that they consider reckless. Do they raise their voices further in protest or simply decide resignedly, "Well, these guys are the elected politicians, let them take the risk" -- and hope that it all works out.

In the end, the officials took the latter route and were unable to influence the gung-ho Fianna Fail ministers from fuelling the economy.

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