Devil’s in the detail at the Department of Finance

It is the department’s role to act as a bulwark against political flights of fiscal fancy

John Moran: “Do we really have the right structures as a State to encourage wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary debate about future spending priorities or infrastructural needs or the structures of our economy?”

John Moran: “Do we really have the right structures as a State to encourage wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary debate about future spending priorities or infrastructural needs or the structures of our economy?”

The chaotic denouement of the Greek drama is salutary. The debacle calls to mind the worst moments of the Irish crash, when nobody seemed to be in charge as the public finances and the banking system went off the rails. Scary.

For all the sins of Ireland’s banking classes, it’s clear the State played its own monumental role in the collapse. But recovery demonstrates the State still had the capacity to execute a turnaround plan, albeit with external aid, intrusive oversight, harsh conditions and penal costs for taxpayers. Whatever about the high and low politics of the Greek wrangle, it seems the public apparatus in Dublin responded better to disaster than in Athens.

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