Thursday 14 December 2017

Wanted: top mandarin to steer us out of debt crisis

John Moran saved the banking system but we would have been better off if it had failed

John Moran
John Moran

James Fitzsimons

John Moran, the secretary general at the Department of Finance, has called it a day only two years into his seven-year contract. A qualified solicitor, and former banker he returned to Ireland in 2010 to lead the country out of the banking crisis. He was the first outsider to take on the top job in a government department when he was appointed in 2012. He was seconded to the Department of Finance with responsibility for banking, shortly after he joined the Central Bank. His sudden resignation surprised the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, who relied on his counsel.

Mr Moran said he never saw it as a long-term job, but nobody thought he would be gone so soon. Let's hope they had a contingency plan.

The question now is who will replace him and does it mean looking at the private sector again. Now that things are picking up, will the package be enough to attract the right talent. If the Department of Finance has been fixed, maybe there is enough talent within to find a replacement. If it's back to budgets and red tape, the best qualified people are already there. Why waste money on a public tender, if they know who the replacement should be.

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