Sunday 18 February 2018

To honour a sour scold's tradition, the mandarins in Finance won't go quietly

John-Paul McCarthy considers the Department of Finance's mixed performance record at the heart of the Irish policy process in historical terms

THE upcoming external review of the Department of Finance's handling of the Irish economy has the potential to radically change the way we think about forming public policy.

This report could have the same impact as the famous Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development review of Irish education policy which was conducted under the chairmanship of the economist Patrick Lynch, and which was used by dynamic ministers like Patrick Hillery to break the hold of the Catholic Church on education policy in the Sixties and to dramatically expand the vocational educational sector.

Recent media reports suggest that the mandarins at Finance are not about to meekly submit to their fate and that they are preparing a hard-nosed defence of their recent stewardship of the economy. They won't go quietly, it seems, without trying to take the Cabinet, the Financial Regulator, the Public Accounts Committee and the Central Bank with them.

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