The smartest guys in the room. Really?

Special advisers to ministers need credibility and authority. Recent policy debacles suggest Ireland could be doing a lot better in this regard

1st December, 2014
The smartest guys in the room. Really?

Making the case for special advisers who work for government ministers is not an easy task. Upon their appointment, their salaries become the focus of attention. Backbenchers continually snipe about their excessive influence. Civil servants complain about their lack of respect for political boundaries. And when controversy emerges, blame tends to be foisted on them as their political masters take cover.

Former British Labour MP Clare Short famously labelled Tony Blair’s advisers “the people who...

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