Thursday 25 December 2014

I'm Enda, call me – as bearla

Published 16/03/2014 | 02:30

President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Enda Kenny, during a St. Patricks Day reception in the East Room of the White House in Washingto. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Enda Kenny, during a St. Patricks Day reception in the East Room of the White House in Washingto. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

So it's Saint Patrick's weekend and we have followed all the annual traditions, the main one being that we like to ramp up the ridiculousness this week. So we send our Taoiseach off to America like a kind of Mattress Mick meets Harvey Norman meets sexy chat line character, to sell our wares and look for stuff off the Yanks.

"Call me. Here's my number. Call me right now. We've got the lowest taxes around, but we technically do not qualify as a tax haven. You'd be nuts not to ring me and set up an international clearing house for your business in Ireland RIGHT NOW!!! Just dial the number on screen. I'm waiting to take your call. Are you looking for willing young ladies in your area – to work in your call centre or tax-efficient shell company? Call this number NOW anytime day or night, and just ask for Crazy Enda. These prices cannot be repeated. After all, how long do you think the Europeans and the rest of them will let us keep up this tax regime? And remember folks, 12.5 per cent is just the headline rate. When you ring and speak to one of our qualified masseuses, they could massage that figure down to practically zero!"

The Americans must be feeling quite bemused, wondering why the Irish are so self-obsessed that we come out there every year and start talking about ourselves and what a great, resilient bunch of people we are and how we have our shoulder to the wheel and our jackets off. I was always told when you went visiting to people's houses that the polite thing was to show an interest in them and ask them questions about themselves. But no. Not us. Enda goes off out to the Yanks, talks non-stop about us, and then puts it up to them as to what they are going to do to help us out of these difficult times we find ourselves in. And worse again, they are expected to talk about us too, so Barack Obama has to feign interest in the Six Nations and Brian O'Driscoll. Lucky he's such a good actor.

Meanwhile, back at home, Ruairi Quinn is apparently in charge of the country right now. Which would almost make you long for the bad old days of Fianna Fail, when Willie O'Dea was usually left in charge for St Patrick's Day. At least Willie had an army if anything went wrong. Ruairi Quinn can't even threaten six of the best anymore.

But the most ridiculous of all had to be that the Government couldn't even find a speaker of the first national language to field question time (Am Ceist) in the Dail (an Dail) the other day (la). You would have thought one of the benefits of having a Government largely composed of teachers would be that there'd be plenty of Irish speakers for the very odd emergency in which someone actually had to speak the cupla focail (couple of words). But no. Ni raibh einne. The country awash with people in green onesies and leprechaun hats and no one in Government could speak Irish. Kind of says something about our relationship with our identity, doesn't it?

Sunday Independent

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