Friday 15 December 2017

Brendan Keenan: Finance mandarins need Wright stuff to curb politicians

For years our civil service, a relic of the British Empire, has preferred a clever general expert to a specialist but a new report questions this received wisdom

'IWISH somebody would have told me," Bertie Ahern said in that now rather notorious interview outside Leinster House.

I leave it to grammarians to decide exactly what tense of the verb "tell" that is. It is a common form of Irish speech and none the worse for that. But, with Mr Ahern, you are always left wondering if an apparent infelicity is being used to conceal a deeper truth.

That probably means I am too much in thrall to the old master of the dark arts. Still, the form of words used by Mr Ahern goes to the core of the Wright report on the Department of Finance which is due to be published this week.

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