John McGuinness: Our bureaucracy is a shambles overseen by managers while politicians are sidelined

Public representatives are tired of taking the blame for decisions made by civil servants who do what they like

John McGuinness: ‘The truth is that what’s hidden behind impassive facades and imperious pretensions is far from a smooth running, well-oiled machine’. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Contrary bedfellows, civil servants and public representatives, have to live together. They need each others skills, which should result in respect, tinged with a healthy tension, between them.

That was how it was in my 25 years as a local councillor, at a time when local politicians were powerful and county managers knew how to get what they wanted. We respected each other and cooperated.

When I entered the Dáil in 1997, the old ...