Ministers, Minders and Mandarins
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Ministers, Minders and Mandarins

An International Study of Relationships at the Executive Summit of Parliamentary Democracies

Edited by Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum

Ministers, Minders and Mandarins collects the leading academics in the field to rigorously assess the impact and consequences of political advisers in parliamentary democracies. The 10 contemporary and original case studies focus on issues of tension, trust and tradition, and are written in an accessible and engaging style.
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Chapter 7: Ireland: steps towards a political coordination role for ministerial advisers

Bernadette Connaughton


In Ireland, ministerial advisers are regarded as essential support for ministers and their appointment is facilitated by the Public Service Management Act 1997. The principal focus of this chapter is on advisers’ roles in political and policy coordination in departments, between departments and as part of the core executive. A coordination scale comprising eight steps is devised to illustrate advisers’ activities and their location. The scale emphasizes the horizontal and vertical coordination processes required to secure government objectives and consensus between governing parties/independents. It demonstrates that the more politicized advisers’ tasks become, the more they accrue towards the centre of government in terms of location and relationships. The scale is employed in two examples of how government coordination is supported by advisers – the programme managers’ coordination of the programme for government 1993–97, and the political and policy coordination of advisers’ work during Ireland’s efforts to exit the Troika programme (2011–14).

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