Thursday, September 24, 2009

NAMA-NAMA Numbers Game

So NAMA is the only show in town, is it?

Well it didn’t take long for some of the political wags to come up with their own version of how to fix Ireland’s economy.

The Internet is awash this week with a simple letter, purporting to be from the people of Ireland, to Taoiseach Brian Cowen with a few very novel ways of getting our finances back on track.

It goes something like this:

“Instead of giving €7bn to the Irish banks who will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan – you can call it the Republic Retirement Plan

“There are about one million people over the age of 50 in the work force. Pay them €7m apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

* they MUST retire – one million job openings, unemployment fixed!
* they MUST buy a new car – one million cars ordered, auto industry fixed!
* they MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – housing crisis fixed!
* They MUST send their kids to school/college/university – crime rate fixed!
* they MUST buy €100 of alcohol/tobacco a week – and there is your
money back in duty/tax.”

We can laugh – but it makes more sense than some of the plans out there!

The Battle for Brussels

Once Lisbon is over and done with, the task will move on to who will replace Charlie McCreevy as Ireland’s Commissioner (if Lisbon is passed, that is!)

Champagne Charlie will retire from his gravy-train post at the end of this year and it is in Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s gift as to who his successor will be.

Given that the Government’s numbers in the Dail are getting tighter by the day, it is highly unlikely that he will send one of his loyal Dail foot soldiers over to take the job.

So who will get it?

Well the money seems to be on the two front-runners – former MEP Eoin Ryan and former EU Parliament President Pat Cox.

Bookies Paddy Power has reported significant interest in Ryan, who lost his seat in June’s local elections.

The 53-year-old Dubliner has been the subject of a sustained gamble which has seen his odds tumble from 7/1 to 7/2 second-favourite.

Pat Cox remains favourite but has eased slightly in Paddy Power’s betting from 11/10 to 5/4.

“According to the betting, it is all over bar the shouting for Lisbon and the shrewd punters have turned their attention to Charlie McCreevy’s successor with Eoin Ryan looking like the one to watch,” Power said.

Other names in the pot include Alan Dukes, Mary Harney, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Dan Boyle, Dermot Ahern, Martin Cullen and even Bertie Ahern!

Chiarrai Abu!!!

It was with great national pride that Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin went along to Croke Park last Sunday for the All-Ireland final.

Besides the fact that he is a proud Cork man, he was also hosting the brightest and the best of Irish business at home and abroad at the game as part of the Global Irish Economic Forum.

But while the Forum has been considered a huge success, the trip to Croke Park for the Minister and his guests was not.

The people of Cork – the Minister included – may have believed that this year was the year that Sam would return to the banks of the Lee.

But they were sorely disappointed when the men from Kerry ran rings around them on the pitch.

Meanwhile, back in Leinster House – there are certain TDs of a Cork hue who will be running scared this week after being a bit too over-confident that their team would win.

To all those – and you know who you are – mine is a gin and tonic!!

Inglorious Gobshites???

Congratulations are again in order for the gang over at
who don’t let a failing economy get in the way of their sense of

This is the latest instalment of political humour in Ireland – if
Quentin Tarantino had directed the story of Fianna Fail!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Irish 'Davos'

Our Government politicians will be out in force this weekend as Farmleigh plays host to the much-anticipated ‘Irish Davos’ - the first ever Global Irish Economic Forum.

While there will be much posturing and many pronouncements made, it seems that Ireland’s attempts at hosting a heavy-weight Economic Forum is on line to be a significant success.

More than 140 journalists from Irish, British, European, US and Japanese media outlets have been registered to cover the event.

Hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the event will be attended by 180 members of the global Irish business community, the Cabinet and members of the opposition.

So interested is the media in the event that a special media centre has been set up in Farmleigh with broadcasters from not only the Irish stations but CNN, Bloomberg and Reuters covering the event as well.

As he is the host of the event, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin has become a familiar face on CNN and Bloomberg news bulletins - normally the traditional home of figures such as President Barack Obama.

And it isn’t just business and political heavyweights who will be attending the Forum - the Irish in Hollywood will also be there with the presence of movie director Neil Jordan.

And just in case we think that this is yet another lavish gesture that the taxpayers will be footing the bill for - we are not as all those attending are funding their own travel arrangements for the weekend.

Moderators of the events will include CNN’s Fionnuala Sweeney (who once hosted the Eurovision in Ireland), Fergal Keane of the BBC, economist David McWilliams and RTE legend John Bowman.

Has the Bull lost his horns?

So John O’Donoghue is remaining tight-lipped about his lavish expenses while Minister for Fun! How times have changed.

It wasn’t that long ago when, as a member of Kerry County Council, John was more than vocal of his criticism of another Kerry
politician’s ‘lavish excess’.

When Dick Spring - as Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs - travelled to New York in the 1990s and opted to stay in the plush Waldorf Astoria rather than the Irish-owned Fitzpatrick’s Hotel - John couldn’t contain himself.

On several occasions in the Council chamber, John took a pop at Spring - who was once referred to by Willie O’Dea as ‘The Bollinger Bolshevick’ - for his decision to stay in the Waldorf as opposed to Fitzpatricks.

John was always good on the attack - ask poor Nora Owen who was often the subject of his maulings. She still has the scars to prove it!

But now that John has the office, cloak and chain of the Ceann Comhairle to hide behind, it seems the Biting Bulldog has turned into a Pampered Pooch.

Credit Crunchies

We have had ‘De Little Book of Bertie’ and now author Will Hanafin gives is his ‘Credit Crunchies’ - an hilarious collection of REAL quotes made by some of top politicians and bankers.

And some of them are right clangers!

Like Brian Cowen’s plans to get the economy back on track - ‘Taking some steps back so we can go forward again’.

And his plan for some decisive action - ‘To identify the problem that is there and park it somewhere else so we can deal with it over a longer period’!

There are also some gems from the bankers who have become notorious over the past 12 months, such as that by disgraced former Anglo chief Sean Fitzpatrick.

“It is well known that I take a fair bit of time off during the year. But I think it is a fair return for the very long hours that I put
in.... and for the loneliness and pressure of continuing to overachieve.”

Or what about Sean’s infamous interview with Marian Finucane after the bank guarantee scheme was introduced: “I can’t say sorry with any degree of sincerity and decency but I do say thank you.”!

An instant cure for insomnia??

Spare a thought for poor Green TD Ciaran Cuffe - he certainly has a lot on his plate, 1,597 pages to be precise!

Writing on his blog about how swamped he is at present, he said report are ‘coming out my ears and starting to take over the desk’.

He tells us he has 136 pages of NAMA, 388 pages of the Lisbon Treaty, 397 pages of the McCarthy ‘Bord Snip Nua’ Report and 551 pages of the Commission on Taxation.

And don’t forget the 125 pages from the 1973 Kenny Report which has become required reading for TDs in the current crisis.

Yes Ciaran, that is A LOT of reading - and also an instant cure for insomnia!


The band of brothers behind ‘There’s No-one as Irish as Barack Obama’ are back - and this time they have NAMA in their sights!

The Corrigan Brothers from Co Tipperary have released a new ditty entitled The Nama Song, sung to the tune of ‘Games People Play’.

Needless to say, Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan come in for a bit of a pasting in the song - the video of which can now be seen on YouTube.