Tuesday 25 October 2016

Brendan O'Connor: Let's build a palace for Sabina

Published 13/04/2014 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins with wife Sabina at Windsor Castle. Photo: PA
President Michael D Higgins with wife Sabina at Windsor Castle. Photo: PA

So it's official. The good times are back. Property prices are on the up and up, and it's not a bubble, and we all know property prices only go in one direction. The economy is growing, too. The ESRI says so, and the ESRI is never wrong. So 3.5 per cent this year and nearly 4 per cent next year.

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And we all know economies only go in one direction.

And even though we thought we had hundreds of billions of unsustainable debt that we could never pay off, and still living beyond our means, it turns out we don't need any further cuts and in fact we could be looking at a giveaway Budget later this year.

Just to make it all feel more like the good times even Morgan Kelly has popped his head up to warn of impending doom and been largely ignored. We have a property shortage in Dublin and we need to help out developers with more credit, people are buying off plans again, even banks are offering giveaway incentives to first-time buyers.

It is fair to say we have all agreed that the last 10 years never happened. We have agreed to learn absolutely no lessons, apart from to keep saying "Never again. Next time we have to build a sustainable economy", while quietly panicking that we might be missing the boat on bagging a few apartments in the Docklands.

Michael D's first act, when he has had a little rest after his triumphal trip Over There, should be to issue a broad-ranging presidential pardon to everyone for any part they may or may not have played in the boom. Thus pardoned, we can move on and pretend it never happened.

Speaking of the President, did you notice that not only have we agreed to wipe out the last 10 years, we are now all agreed that the last 800 years never happened? In a startling development, we are now friends with the English. This will come as a surprise to those of us who were labouring under the apprehension that we were friends with them already. But it seems the top-drawer people have now caught up with those of us in the bottom drawer.

Most of us have a casual friendship with Britain, whereby we go over and back with little fuss, have friends and relations there, and share a sporting and cultural life with them. But now that the important people on either side of the Irish Sea have discovered each other, it's true love.

Last week also reminded us that Irish people have a royalist streak that we don't really like to talk about. Now that we have agreed the 800 years never happened, perhaps we are even ready to embrace a monarch again. Not theirs obviously. Our own. Right now it's between the actual first lady, Sabina, and Olivia O'Leary, the unofficial first lady of official Ireland.

To avoid a scene, perhaps we should just agree that one of them can be queen and the other can play her in the movie. Sabina is more of an actress so she should be the actual queen. We should build her a palace quickly before we miss the boat on a suitable property in South Dublin.

Sunday Independent

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