Official contacts are closer than you may think

Good to see that the Cabinet Secretary of Ireland takes part in regular in meetings with his peers of the Westminster tradition ( I was nearly going to say the Commonwealth).. Relations have been close for many years. He will have plenty of lore to share over how to handle coalitions.

Significantly, Sir Gus is flying to New Zealand next week to meet Maarten Weavers, his opposite number there, and the two are expected to discuss the UK’s new manual. (It is a regular cab secs’ fest with top officials from Canada, Australia and Ireland, too.)

  • Marlaghman

    Was that not what they all signed up to in the GFA when they gave the UK a say in the Republic’s affairs. Remember the Slow Learners Bit

  • Michaelhenry

    going to new zealand,did these people never hear of that invention, the telephone.

  • Does the Commonwealth offer a good trading block, if it does in our straightened circumstances, it might be a good idea for a while. If it does not I can see no point to it.

    Even more so since the civil ‘servants’ going there are unlikely to be paying their own costs, they are not even likely to be travelling tourist or staying in the average tourist hotel. Perhaps NZ is paying, are they rich?

  • “Official contacts are closer than you may think”

    They are also more secret than they need to be, Brian. For example, the NIO refuses to reveal the name of the Irish joint secretary of the BIIC Joint Secretariat:

    In favour of non-disclosure:

    The information we hold regarding the details of the Irish Joint Secretary and the Ireland team is of a confidential nature, the release of which would or could be likely to jeopardize relations between the UK Government and the Irish Government. We also consider that it would be inappropriate for the British Government to disclose information in relation to Irish Government staff members. We feel that to do so would significantly undermine the Government’s ongoing relationship at an official level with the Irish government and damage future sharing of information. It is not in the UK’s interests to damage international relations because it is to the Government’s advantage that foreign officials have confidence in the UK Government and are willing to engage in dialogue and the exchange of views.

    We therefore concluded that the public interest test in retaining this information outweighs the public interest in release. …

  • Brian Walker

    I can see a wee point of etiquette there Nevin but the palaver does go on a bit. Wouldn’t the Irish government oblige with his identity?

  • I’m hoping that the Irish government will oblige, Brian!!

    Of course, this ’embargo’ applies also to the work the BIIC JS does. Secrecy outranks open and accountable governance. It’s probably easier to get information out of the DRD 🙂

  • Relations have been close for many years.

    Indeed. And why not?

    There are accounts enough of the back-stage exchanges between (say) Joseph Walshe, the secretary at the Department of External Affairs, and Sir John Maffey (the UK representative in Dublin) or, even at the highest level, between de Valera and Malcolm MacDonald, with the benign complicity of Anthony Eden, for us to know something more than mutual respect existed back to the start of the Emergency.

    More recently, with the exception of membership of the eurozone, and aspects of the CAP (itself a declining proportion of EU expenditure) the RoI and the UK have as much in common interest as any of the EU nations. Not surprisingly the song-sheet is similar (and doubtless, on occasions, concerted for two solo voices).