THE CIVIL SERVANT has traditionally been a butt for humorists. It was easy to satirise the seemingly obsessive caution and avoidance of personal responsibility which the popular mind attributed to the civil servant, whose prime skills were represented as being a perverse pleasure in preventing members of the public from getting satisfaction and manipulation of files to keep the buck moving-together, of course, with an insatiable thirst for tea.
THE CHARACTER of the opposition has changed very much since the General Election. Prior to then the Nationalists controlled the predominantly Catholic rural areas and in Belfast Labour was the main opposition party. But now the position is very much different.
THE TUMULTUOUS EVENTS in Northern Ireland caused the most serious crisis in the Government since Jack Lynch became Taoiseach. Indeed on at least two occasions the Government was in danger of breaking up and that it did not do so was due more to the fortuitous turn of events than anYthing else.
LAST APRIL a public opinion poll was carried out in this country, surveying political attitudes on the eve of the election. The poll was undertaken by Social Surveys (Gallup Poll), based on a sample of over 2,000 respondents throughout the country. Within the usual limits of sampling error this poll gives a reliable and unique insight into Irish political attitudes. The range of information provided is immense and in this article only some aspects of the results can be considered.
THE PUBLICATION of the next quarterly report on the economy by the Economic and Social Research Institute --expected within the next few weeksis awaited with more than the usual amount of interest. Psychologically, the report will mark the end of the Summer doldrums in economic affairs caused, as in most other aspects of political life, by the anti-climax of the June election and the disappearance of Ministers, Civil Servants, and economic commentators to their various holiday hideaways.
IRELAND HAS thrown up at last its own version of Enoch Powell-in the person of Oliver J. Flanagan, T.D. As usual, the replica is a pale tawdry imitation of the real thing.
" I'VE ONLY BEEN here for the last fortnight," said Gerry Collins disarmingly. Never has a honeymoon been less needed. The new Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Commerce and the Gaeltacht lost his political virginity years ago. Gerry Collins has' always, so to speak, been on the job.
About the only constructive innovation among Mr. Lynch's Cabinet changes was the promise to create a new department for Housing and Physical Development with Mr. Blaney to be in charge. This presumably will mean a higher priority for one of the nation's most pressing social needs as well as greater prominence for a neglected aspect of Irish economic affairs. Apart from that, the numerous promotions, demotions and "transmotions" effected by Mr. Lynch seem only to be aimed at concealing the absence of substantative change by making a multiplicity of minor alterations.
THE POLITICAL PARTY nominating conventions have caused greater bitterness and controversy this election than ever before. The Labour Party has had its problems in East Limerick where Councillor Michael Lipper was offered a ticket for tWo days "due to doctors ordcrs" and in Dublin North East where it took the threat of Party Leadcr Brendan Corish to resign to ensure Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien was acceptcd as thc candidate in that area. Fianna Fail has had its problems too, again in East Limerick, Dr.
JACK LYNCH has blundered already, he hasn't yet learnt that he simply mustn't do anything or take any decisions without first clearing it with Haughey. Charlie had decided on who were going to be Parliamentary Secretaries and attached to what Ministries. The suave wheeler-dealer Gerry Collins was to be Chief Whip and Party Manager. Bobby Molloy was to join his "Guru" George Colley in Industry and Commerce and the Gaeltacht, and Des O'Malley was to assume part of the Donogh mantle in Education. However, just one hour before Jack was to make the announcement in the Dail-somebody said that.