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After over forty years in national journalism, John Walshe thought he had seen and heard it all. That was until he got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in government and see how decisions are really made ...
Having spent most of his career as an education correspondent, Walshe did not have to think twice about accepting incoming education minister Ruairi Quinn's invitation to become his special adviser. So in a matter of weeks he found himself in the seat of power in Government Buildings and up close and personal with some of the country most powerful decision-makers. It was heady stuff.
An Education is John Walshe's revealing, surprising and entertaining inside account of what it's like be part of a government trying to get to grips with a country and an economy in free-fall. It is an anatomy of how choices are made, particularly when the choices are between swingeing cuts and drastic savings. And it is a gripping description of the ferocious day-to-day territorial battles and face-offs between the coalition parties and their backroom staff.
Ruairi Quinn knew this would be his last cabinet post and he was determined to leave a legacy. Walshe documents the triumphs and disasters of Quinn's mission to reshape Irish education. In doing so he gets to the heart of the mix of idealism, egotism and pragmatism that ultimately drives those who govern.
John Walshe's forty-month education on the corridors of power him left him much wiser about those who set out to do the state some service. His conclusions are sometimes encouraging and sometimes dismaying. But they are always enlightening. An Education is both lively and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Irish politics in the raw.
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