Friday 23 February 2018

Finance must set an example

New Department of Finance secretary general John Moran went public on his plans for the department yesterday. Mr Moran, an "outsider" who took over as boss in March, wants to move the Department of Finance away from the crisis management to which it has devoted most of its efforts for the past few years and reposition it to play a more strategic role.

The Department of Finance has not covered itself in glory over the past decade. During the latter years of the Celtic Tiger, as the twin credit and property bubbles inflated to dangerous proportions, it was nowhere near forceful enough in voicing its concerns about what was happening to the economy.

Instead of telling the government of the day that the economy was running out of control and needed to be reined in, senior officials contented themselves with mealy-mouthed on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand admonishments that the politicians felt free to ignore. Officials who voiced their concerns more forcefully were sidelined and ignored.

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