Sunday 21 January 2018

Department of Justice has been throwing its weight around too long – it needs to be tamed

Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

Minister Frances Fitzgerald has adopted the right approach and tone in the wake of the Guerin Report and the resignation of her predecessor.

After months of ducking and diving by the Government, she needed to cast a cold eye on the issues on her desk. Passing the parcel to various enquiries would not suffice. By declining to express confidence in the Secretary General of her department, Ms Fitzgerald has done the right thing. It is rare that a minister would have the courage to do so. She has broken new ground.

Taking on the top brass in the Civil Service is not for the faint of heart. These are powerful people. In my experience the Secretaries General of Government departments tend to back each other if threatened by what they regard as transient political masters in the form of ministers.

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