Shane Ross: Play the bankruptcy card
Sometimes it pays to be bankrupt. Ireland is no longer the darling of Europe's leaders. Indeed our new masters want to test the mettle of our Taoiseach and his Cabinet.
Portly European Commissioner Jose Emmanuel Barroso took time off to greet Enda Kenny. French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave him a grilling. ECB boss Jean- Claude Trichet made space in his diary for a meeting with Finance Minister Michael Noonan. European Commissioner Olli Rehn made himself available and promptly gave Michael a dressing down. The IMF's AJ Chopra and his co-lenders from Europe suddenly jetted in to talks with Noonan and his Labour colleague Brendan Howlin.
Quite a flurry, with plenty of unwanted attention for dazzled ministers in their first week.