Alan Dukes objected to ‘impertinence’ of questions about his 1983 holiday plans

Finance minister suggested: ‘ask the media gurus where they are going’

Alan Dukes told Joe Jennings: “Where I go on holidays is my business and I don’t intend to discuss it with anybody.”

Alan Dukes told Joe Jennings: “Where I go on holidays is my business and I don’t intend to discuss it with anybody.”

Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 01:00

Former minister Alan Dukes forcefully objected to the “impertinence” of the media asking questions about ministers’ holiday plans in the summer of 1983.

Joe Jennings, head of the Government Information Service (GIS) at the time, had decided to compile a list of ministers’ holiday destinations in advance of anticipated queries on the subject from the media.

On June 15th, 1983, he wrote to all ministers and ministers of state in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government led by Garret FitzGerald:“Dear Minister, Each year as the Dáil breaks for the summer recess the inevitable query from the media is: ‘Where are the Ministers taking their summer vacation this year.’ On a previous occasion when this query arose, after
the June 1981 election, I was in the
happy position of noting that most
of the Ministers intended to take their summer vacation at various resorts throughout Ireland.

“I shall be obliged if you would kindly let me know, by return if possible, your holiday plans for this summer. The list compiled will be available for issue to the media in the usual way when the Dáil rises for the summer recess.”

Mr Dukes, who was then the minister for finance, reacted indignantly. He replied: “Dear Joe, “I have received a copy of a letter which you circulated to all Ministers and Ministers of State concerning their holiday arrangements.

“I strongly object to the compilation of any such lists with the assistance of GIS. I feel that it is an impertinence of the media to ask such a question. Where I go on holidays is my business and I don’t intend to discuss it with anybody.

“Why not ask the media gurus where they are going? Yours sincerely, Alan”

However, a number of other ministers responded by saying they were taking their holidays in Ireland.

Junior ministers George Birminghan and Michael D’Arcy said they were going to France and Spain respectively.