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Aide de Camp to An Taoiseach

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,373 ✭✭✭ezra_


    Comdt. Caroline Burke appointed as Aide de Camp to An Taoiseach


    http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/News/Comdt_Caroline_Burke_appointed_as_Aide_de_Camp_to_An_Taoiseach.html why do you need a an military person to be the Taoiseach's personal assistant?

    AdC isn't a personal assistant, IIRC it has elements of an MPs Diary Secretary (to use a UK example), elements of being a public point of contact and also being a permanent presence as an informal rep for the DF at diplomatic events (apart from the ones where there is a formal rep).

    You are unlikely to find the Cmdt either washing Leo's socks or fetching his coffee


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    ezra_ wrote: »
    AdC isn't a personal assistant, IIRC it has elements of an MPs Diary Secretary (to use a UK example), elements of being a public point of contact and also being a permanent presence as an informal rep for the DF at diplomatic events (apart from the ones where there is a formal rep).

    You are unlikely to find the Cmdt either washing Leo's socks or fetching his coffee

    I didn't suggest that, a PA is a term often used to describe the things you listed first rather then the latter. I was trying to avoid using the word secretary.

    Still doesn't explain why it has to be a military person, an informal point of contact doesn't really seem necessary, if anyone has anything to say they can say it to our diplomates, civil service/special advisers or politicians.


  • Registered Users Posts: 945 ✭✭✭Colonel Claptrap


    Comdt. Caroline Burke appointed as Aide de Camp to An Taoiseach


    http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/News/Comdt_Caroline_Burke_appointed_as_Aide_de_Camp_to_An_Taoiseach.html why do you need a an military person to be the Taoiseach's personal assistant?

    The Captain of the Guard - the guy in charge of ushers in the Oireachtas - is traditionally a former military person who is now civilian. I always thought that was interesting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    The Captain of the Guard - the guy in charge of ushers in the Oireachtas - is traditionally a former military person who is now civilian. I always thought that was interesting.
    the current one is comdt "John Flaherty" I wonder with some reform of the hiring at the Oireachtas that non -former miltary could now apply?

    UK Seargeant at Arms don't seem to be former (long term ) military https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serjeant-at-Arms_of_the_House_of_Commons_(United_Kingdom) and the Candian vickers guy was policeman/mountie. Although previoous ones were.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,373 ✭✭✭ezra_


    I didn't suggest that, a PA is a term often used to describe the things you listed first rather then the latter. I was trying to avoid using the word secretary.

    Still doesn't explain why it has to be a military person, an informal point of contact doesn't really seem necessary, if anyone has anything to say they can say it to our diplomates, civil service/special advisers or politicians.

    Traditionally, it was always a serving officer. This isn't an Irish thing, but is still true for many heads of Government as well as heads of state.

    Makes sense in a way - the skills of an officer lend themselves to the job, more so than a political appointee and the civil service already has PPS' and heads of departments in with politicians.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    ezra_ wrote: »
    Traditionally, it was always a serving officer. This isn't an Irish thing, but is still true for many heads of Government as well as heads of state.

    Makes sense in a way - the skills of an officer lend themselves to the job, more so than a political appointee and the civil service already has PPS' and heads of departments in with politicians.

    Traditions can end. What skills does an officer have that others don't?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,373 ✭✭✭ezra_


    Traditions can end. What skills does an officer have that others don't?

    For a temporary role which otherwise would be given to a political appointee? Quite a few I would imagine. DF staff would be 'neutral' and would (should?) have good experience in organisation and administration, which is what the role requires.

    You can see the results in the White House at the moment, where political appointees are put into roles that they don't quite have the experience for...

    You seem quite set against this - why is that?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    ezra_ wrote: »
    For a temporary role which otherwise would be given to a political appointee? Quite a few I would imagine. DF staff would be 'neutral' and would (should?) have good experience in organisation and administration, which is what the role requires.

    You can see the results in the White House at the moment, where political appointees are put into roles that they don't quite have the experience for...

    You seem quite set against this - why is that?

    I got the impression that after interview the Taoiseach gets final say on who the ADC is (http://www.shannonside.ie/news/local/roscommon/podcast-we-chat-to-the-roscommon-woman-whos-the-first-ever-female-aide-de-camp-to-a-taoiseach/ at 8 minutes ). All civil servants are supposed to be neutral and Im sure many would have organisational and administration skills. Not being military person doesn't mean it would be mere political appointee.

    Im not that set against it, Im just asking why it is so, it seems archaic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,373 ✭✭✭ezra_


    I got the impression that after interview the Taoiseach gets final say on who the ADC is (http://www.shannonside.ie/news/local/roscommon/podcast-we-chat-to-the-roscommon-woman-whos-the-first-ever-female-aide-de-camp-to-a-taoiseach/ at 8 minutes ). All civil servants are supposed to be neutral and Im sure many would have organisational and administration skills. Not being military person doesn't mean it would be mere political appointee.

    Im not that set against it, Im just asking why it is so, it seems archaic.

    There is a difference though; civil servants are coming from a particular department and background. Having someone (say from the Dept. of Soc. Affairs) being heavily involved in the organising of Leo's diary and correspondence would be an issue. the same issues as if it were a political appointee.

    DF provides a neutral person, who won't be involved in the issues arising from the run of the mill business of government, and who is very capable of taking on the role.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    ezra_ wrote: »
    There is a difference though; civil servants are coming from a particular department and background. Having someone (say from the Dept. of Soc. Affairs) being heavily involved in the organising of Leo's diary and correspondence would be an issue. the same issues as if it were a political appointee.

    DF provides a neutral person, who won't be involved in the issues arising from the run of the mill business of government, and who is very capable of taking on the role.
    The civil servant that would be involved in the organising the Taoiseach diary would be a an employee of the Department of Taoiseach and would work for that department. Civil servants of certain experience will have work for many departments. Theres nothing there to say why it needs to be a military person.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,373 ✭✭✭ezra_


    The civil servant that would be involved in the organising the Taoiseach diary would be a an employee of the Department of Taoiseach and would work for that department. Civil servants of certain experience will have work for many departments. Theres nothing there to say why it needs to be a military person.

    You miss the point slightly - such people are usually only in the job for a few years at most (they follow the 'life' of the leader), you don't and wouldn't want a permanent fixture in that role, and yes, while they could be seconded to the DoT they would still be coming from an active department - unless the DoT was going to hire a bunch of prospective assistants...

    In pretty much every democratic government, you have a tug of war between political appointees and civil servants, and between themselves.

    This has been one of the reasons you _don't_ put either political appointees or civil servants as personal assistants to a leader and this is historically why military figures have been used in this role and still are, in most countries apart from the USA (while such roles exist, the equivalent to the role in question is filled by a political appointment).

    You could I guess hire someone in to do the job - but then you'd be basically making a political appointment.

    President Higgins had some issues along these lines - he brought in a bunch of political 'advisors' who weren't able to manage with normal protocol, resulting in resignations and issues among his team. And that was only from 'internal' sparring - they weren't clashing with Exec / CS functionaries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    ezra_ wrote: »
    You miss the point slightly - such people are usually only in the job for a few years at most (they follow the 'life' of the leader), you don't and wouldn't want a permanent fixture in that role, and yes, while they could be seconded to the DoT they would still be coming from an active department - unless the DoT was going to hire a bunch of prospective assistants...

    In pretty much every democratic government, you have a tug of war between political appointees and civil servants, and between themselves.

    This has been one of the reasons you _don't_ put either political appointees or civil servants as personal assistants to a leader and this is historically why military figures have been used in this role and still are, in most countries apart from the USA (while such roles exist, the equivalent to the role in question is filled by a political appointment).

    You could I guess hire someone in to do the job - but then you'd be basically making a political appointment.

    President Higgins had some issues along these lines - he brought in a bunch of political 'advisors' who weren't able to manage with normal protocol, resulting in resignations and issues among his team. And that was only from 'internal' sparring - they weren't clashing with Exec / CS functionaries.

    so why not have miltary doing all sorts of jobs for the government if civil servants are incapable of doing them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,605 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    This isnt really a matter for debate, the roles are pretty clear.

    The Secretary General at DoT is basically Cabinet Secretary. He has a staff. The Taoiseach then has a private secretary for diary management, personal business, and discretionaries. Then there are the Press Secretary and Special Advisors who flock around as needed.

    The AdC is more like a personal attaché or batman - close equivalent being a Judge's tipstaff. Their role is to act as a buffer and keep a watching brief and advisor for the Taoiseach's wellbeing and activities in public, although it has become more ceremonial in nature as Garda Close Protection have their own protocols.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    The ADC is not like a judge's tipstaff. The ADC has to represent the Taoiseach at funerals. Being a uniformed officer makes them highly visible and presentable for such functions unlike a nondescript civil servant in a cheap suit. The ADC also has to co-ordinate travel arrangements for the Taoiseach and ensure various matters including security and protocol are arranged. This often involves liaising with the Garda and the military. Army officers are trained in protocol and grooming and their military and administrative training means they can carry out a wide variety of functions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    The ADC is not like a judge's tipstaff. The ADC has to represent the Taoiseach at funerals. Being a uniformed officer makes them highly visible and presentable for such functions unlike a nondescript civil servant in a cheap suit. The ADC also has to co-ordinate travel arrangements for the Taoiseach and ensure various matters including security and protocol are arranged. This often involves liaising with the Garda and the military. Army officers are trained in protocol and grooming and their military and administrative training means they can carry out a wide variety of functions.
    seems the only thing there a civil servant can't do is wear a uniform


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    seems the only thing there a civil servant can't do is wear uniform

    The typical civil servant doesn't have the training an army officer would have even if in theory they could carry out the functions. The salary of an ADc is small so there is no saving in having and army officer do it. It would in fact be more expensive to use a civil servant as they would be paid more.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    The typical civil servant doesn't have the training an army officer would have even if in theory they could carry out the functions. The salary of an ADc is small so there is no saving in having and army officer do it. It would in fact be more expensive to use a civil servant as they would be paid more.

    protocol and grooming. JFC I think they might be non-military people out there who handle this.



    I didn't express an interest in how much they are paid.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    protocol and grooming. JFC I think they might be non-military people out there who handle this.



    I didn't express an interest in how much they are paid.

    There might well be. It is guaranteed with the military. Why engage in a search?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    There might well be. It is guaranteed with the military.
    Im asking why that is?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    Im asking why that is?

    There is specific training provided to all cadets and young officers. There is also training in first aid, unarmed combat, and other skills which ight come in handy. ADCs are also fit and healthey with annual medical checks. Civilian employees dont have such a regime.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    There is specific training provided to all cadets and young officers. There is also training in first aid, unarmed combat, and other skills which ight come in handy. ADCs are also fit and healthey with annual medical checks. Civilian employees dont have such a regime.
    There is specific training provided to all cadets and young officers.

    What training ?

    The Gardai handle the Taoiseach's security afaik not one military officer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    What training ?

    The Gardai handle the Taoiseach's security afaik not one military officer.

    There is cadet training and young officers courses as well as overseas training. The Garda and army work together on the Taoiseach's security. The ADC liaises with the Gardai.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    There is cadet training and young officers courses as well as overseas training. The Garda and army work together on the Taoiseach's security. The ADC liaises with the Gardai.


    you keep saying there is "training" training for what?
    but the Gardai are his primary security arn't they, I get the impression the Army role is wider security for large events/buildings etc and that there is some other member of the army who is charge of that and liasing with the gardai.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    you keep saying there is "training" training for what?
    but the Gardai are his primary security arn't they, I get the impression the Army role is wider security for large events/buildings etc and that there is some other member of the army who is charge of that and liasing with the gardai.

    There is military training for various roles an army officer must engage in. That would include studying protocol, deportment and diplomacy. I don't know what the basis of the impressions you get is so I can't comment. The ADC's role is micro-specific to the Taoiseach and liasing with the garda is in that context only. There are many other contacts between the Garda and the army.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    There is military training for various roles an army officer must engage in. That would include studying protocol, deportment and diplomacy. I don't know what the basis of the impressions you get is so I can't comment. The ADC's role is micro-specific to the Taoiseach and liasing with the garda is in that context only. There are many other contacts between the Garda and the army.
    deportment :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,460 ✭✭✭Barry Badrinath


    An Aide de Camp (ADC) is no mystery and is a worldwide occurance.

    They have traditionally been appointed to heads of State, Royal families and senior military and political figures...not just in Ireland.

    The Taoiseach and El Presidente already have security staff from the State authority (AGS) and also have civil servant administrative staff, the ADC performs a variety of roles, mostly ceremonial and protocol type with minor daily administrative tasks.

    It is also "normal" for a member of the armed forces to accompany a head of State inside and outside of the country as liasion for various things, and as a status and security symbol, so it makes sense to have one appointed on a full time basis.

    Arguing why its needed or why it cant be performed by a civil servant is futile. The title is Aide de Camp, it is required to be filled by a military officer.

    If you really want to argue and query. Get onto your local TD and ask why an ADC has been appointed to An T and El Pres.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    An Aide de Camp (ADC) is no mystery and is a worldwide occurance.

    They have traditionally been appointed to heads of State, Royal families and senior military and political figures...not just in Ireland.

    The Taoiseach and El Presidente already have security staff from the State authority (AGS) and also have civil servant administrative staff, the ADC performs a variety of roles, mostly ceremonial and protocol type with minor daily administrative tasks.

    It is also "normal" for a member of the armed forces to accompany a head of State inside and outside of the country as liasion for various things, and as a status and security symbol, so it makes sense to have one appointed on a full time basis.

    Arguing why its needed or why it cant be performed by a civil servant is futile. The title is Aide de Camp, it is required to be filled by a military officer.

    If you really want to argue and query. Get onto your local TD and ask why an ADC has been appointed to An T and El Pres.

    There an ADC because there is ADC? I have to find out why there is an military-ADC first and it seems tradition is the main response which isn't a good enough reason to continue having and ADC.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,086 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer


    There an ADC because there is ADC? I have to find out why there is an military-ADC first and it seems tradition is the main response which isn't a good enough reason to continue having and ADC.

    Why do you have to find out?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    Why do you have to find out?
    I phrased it like that because he was suggesting I contact somebody about it but I responded I would have to find out more about the role before I were to go further and contact somebody about it, im just discussing something on an internet forum at the moment.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,460 ✭✭✭Barry Badrinath


    I phrased it like that becuase he was suggesting I contact somebody about it but I responded I would have to find out more about the role before I were to go further and contact somebody about it, im just discussing something on an internet forum at the moment.

    I suggested you contact your local political representative because you are not convinced of our comments.

    You will get a difinitive answer from them, to your liking or not.

    The role is a traditional role which globally spans centuries .......thats it.


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