Elaine Byrne: Tail is wagging the dog when civil servants tell politicians what to do

A review of the former chief medical officer’s proposed secondment to Trinity lifts a lid on how government really operates

Robert Watt: the civil servant effectively assumed the role of minister when he decided that one individual, Dr Tony Holohan, should be in receipt of €20 million in public funds

“Robert Watt is a civil servant. He works for me.” So said Stephen Donnelly last week to the Irish Mirror in response to the long-awaited report on Dr Tony Holohan’s controversial proposed secondment to Trinity College Dublin.

The Minister for Health is correct, in theory.

It was Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan who best articulated what the relationship between a minister and their secretary general should look like. The Dublin Bay South TD told RTÉ’s Morning ...