Budgeting nation back to the Dark Ages
GIVEN the tone of coverage of Ireland in much of the international media recently, there was surely disappointment that Brian Lenihan detailed the four-year plan rather than, say, Jackie Healy-Rae.
Or, better still, Jackie Healy-Rae on a piebald pony.
It didn't deter CNN too much, however. Over its factual and sober account of the 'recovery plan' it had a video of a horse, staring forlornly out of a stable.
'Dublin: Horses, houses and recession' ran the rather enigmatic caption, while clicking on the video brought up a report on abandoned equines.
More evidence that we were back in the Dark Ages -- whether we like it or not -- was in the 'Daily Mail', which warned of an "influx" of Irish workers in to the UK if the economy failed.
And the more sober analysis wasn't too cheering either.
The 'Guardian' continued its recent live blog on the economic situation here, and quoted James Nixon, chief European economist at Societe Generale.
"It's a staggeringly austere budget, the cuts are deep and it will hurt," he said.
So there are plenty not buying it, although most international outlets admitted that the Irish public was being pushed to its very limit.
The BBC called the plan "tough", while France's 'Le Monde' said that the third tranche of austerity measures were "feared by a population that has already made many sacrifices".
The 'Telegraph' and the 'New York Times' described the plan as "austere".
The same paper had some rare praise for Brian Cowen, reporting that he had made "an energetic speech aimed at bolstering national morale".
Too little, too late.
As the 'Washington Post' pointed out, the country is now "desperate to seal a deal for an international bailout" while Germany's 'Bild' said that, for Ireland, "the EU is the only salvation".
But what's stopping us putting the National Pension Reserve Fund on a horse?