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Service resumed

We'll be hearing a whole lot more from civil servants now that the general election is over thanks to the end of "purdah" - the period when the government officials are obliged to avoid commenting on any political issues pending the election.

But what kind of guidance is available to them for dealing with the press during this highly sensitive period?

The refreshingly self-effacing Will Haire, permanent secretary of the Department for Employment and Learning in Ulster, explains all: "We are told that we must be extremely boring in everything we say.

"So colleagues have told me to go back to default mode and do my usual work."

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