The role of civil service in a democracy

Servants of the people

Sir, – Kathy Sheridan in her analysis of the recent election in Italy, “The question is where Meloni and Italy end up and how” (Opinion & Analysis, September 28th), makes the point that Ms Meloni “will have to work with other parties and civil servants to effect her far-right-wing policies”.

Lately there seems to be a creeping expectation that the civil service, rather than being employed to serve the government elected by the people, are there instead as an unsanctioned court of checks and balances. Employed to obstruct what displeases them and leak whatever goes against the delicate lilies of their political conscience.

Civil servants are, as their name suggests, servants of the people and, in an Irish context, they are employed to serve to the best of their ability the government of the day, be that the present government, Sinn Féin or any future amalgamation to the left, right or centre.

The onus is not on democratically elected governments to work with civil servants, rather, the civil service has to work with the government.


Otherwise, we end up constructing a dull blancmange of banality that, in its own way, is as far removed from the people and the cut and thrust of idealism and ideology as the National People’s Congress of China. – Yours, etc,


Norwich, UK.