Susan O’Keeffe: Oireachtas committees are too weak

Format needs to be revamped and strengthened to hold government – both ministers and senior civil servants – to account in a substantial manner

‘Those who are paid by the taxpayer to work on behalf of the taxpayer, and who have their hands on the levers of power, must accept the absolute need to answer to the people when required.’ Picture: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Our permanent politicians are nameless. They are unrecognisable; never stopped in the supermarket and asked for help, never shouted at walking down the street and certainly never have people gather in protest outside their private homes.

These are the people at the top of the permanent tree – the secretary generals of government departments and their assistants. And, at this level, this very small group of people exercise very real power over our lives.

They ...