Budget? What Budget?
Confusion surrounded the Budget last night as the Government played it down to the point where it became invisible to the naked eye. "There may be no Budget at all," said one senior government source. "Noonan doesn't get out of bed for less than a billion - not that he's tired or anything - and this is less than a billion. But we really don't want to raise anyone's expectations about absolutely anything. So we might just not bother. The problem is Paschal Donohoe is on a bit of a high and says he's been rehearsing for months at The Billie Barry school, and he wants his moment in the sun. Not that he wants to be leader or has any ambition at all. But we might just let him say a few words."
There was confusion, too, about what exactly will be included in the non-existent Budget. While Katherine Zappone was said to be working on a childcare package for the lower paid, it apparently turned out that everyone else was working behind her back on an alternative package that involved Katherine minding all the children.
"The Taoiseach has made it quite clear that Budget plans are men's work, and if any of the women dare try to poke their noses into it, he will humiliate them publicly," said a source. "He says Mary Mitchell-O'Connor should be an example to them all. He's says he understands that he had to put a few in the Cabinet, what with it being all about women these days, but he says they should know their place."