James McDermott: That sinking feeling when cabinet ministers can’t resist a sneaky leak

Secrecy at cabinet meetings is a valuable protection for all involved, but that doesn’t seem to occur to the senior politicians involved

The newly elected cabinet of the 33rd Dail after their first meeting in Dublin Castle in June last year. Picture: Julian Behal

In the BBC comedy Yes, Minister, Sir Humphrey Appleby remarks that “the ship of state is the only ship that leaks from the top”. I was reminded of this recently when it was suggested that news about the proposed appointment of Katherine Zappone as UN special envoy for freedom of expression had leaked directly from cabinet.

This is not a new problem. In his recent book In Bed with the Blueshirts, Shane Ross, the former ...