Frank Litton is a lecturer in politics and public administration based in Dublin. For many years he taught public servants from all grades and parts of the public service at the Institute of Public Administration. He contributed to the Institute’s objective of improving the standard of public administration in Ireland by drawing on the intellectual traditions of politics and organization analysis to help students understand the problems that they encountered as public servants.
The bubble burst, the economy crashed and, in 2009, Frank retired. The preoccupations of a lifetime are not readily abandoned. In this blog he asks what went wrong, what lessons can be learnt and what should be done next. Examination of his immediate concern – the role of the civil service in the crisis – leads inevitably to the big picture: the condition of our democracy. The civil service is an element in our design for democracy and its tribulations cannot be understood apart from its malaise.