A poor lookout
• As a kid, a TV advertisement for the St Vincent de Paul Society at Christmas used to fill me with distress. It depicted an auction room and an aged female hand stroking the neckline of a blouse where a battered gold locket used to rest. I watched in tears as the locket was auctioned. Another clip showed the left-hand ring finger, the white mark left by the missing rings visible.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter's suggestion that those in financial distress who owe under €20,000 should resort to this is crass and insensitive, particularly when contrasted with how the greedy bankers and developers who bust this country are treated.
Not for them the pawning of dad's watch, or the enforced sale of granny's eternity ring. No -- they sail off into the sunset of golden handshakes, golf courses and lavish family weddings. If they're really stuck, NAMA will pay them €200,000 a year to manage their portfolios.