Shane Ross: Heavy gang tackles property tax
Michael Noonan is a decent skin. He shuffles slowly around Leinster House with a generous word for everyone. He reminds many of the Dail's inmates of their favourite uncle. While critics ask what on earth a 69-year-old schoolteacher is doing in Ireland's financial hot seat, no one has ever suggested that this avuncular minister has let power go to his head. He is level-headed and personally popular.
Privately, Noonan would not hurt a fly. So it was disturbing to hear such a nice man sounding distinctly menacing last week. The late comedian Dermot Morgan (who made a career out of lampooning Noonan's nasal tones in the minister's first coming) would have enjoyed a field day after Michael's sudden descent into threatening mode.
The Finance Minister was asked about the cursed property tax that he is imposing on Middle Ireland. How was he going to ensure that the punters paid up?