A link here to the RTE Player’s version of ‘Inside the Department’, a documentary that provides some interesting insights into the realities of governance in today’s Ireland. Among other things, it documents the difficulty of leading a department that you have verbally eviscerated in opposition (“malevolently dysfunctional” is a particularly good catchphrase).
While the ‘sacred cow’ of the Croke Park deal is discussed at several moments, nobody in the documentary, at any point, questions whether our education budget bottom line should be externally dictated by the Troika. Neither does anyone ask whether the same Troika has the right to demand that the government makes these cuts while simultaneously insisting that it pays out much larger figures to the bondholders of failed banks. Perhaps it’s too much to expect such questions from people working on the day-to-day running of the country.
It’s also nice to get some idea of what a political advisor actually does day-to-day (though apparently it’s not a very useful job to admit to when you’re chatting someone up). However, the major issue that the documentary exposes is the obsessive extent to which our political and administrative leaders focus on the presentation of their decisions in the media. Whether that’s a good thing or not is open to debate, but it does seem to be the system that we have.
Still though, it seems like a good idea to me to open up departmental work to the public via this sort of documentary, so the Minister and his team should be commended for their participation.