Language lessons for Euro officials
Published 21/11/2010 | 05:00
Sir -- Does anyone know the German for, 'I knew your father'; 'I was very fond of your mother'; 'I am entitled to natural justice'; 'I did it for my children's education'? I am compiling a glossary of terms for German finance officials who will keep track of the money when the bailout is eventually accessed. The nice German people have a good grip on formal English, but they will need a crash course in the unique application of it within Irish public administration. If only they were as good at doing things right as they are at lying and covering up, we'd be sending money to Germany and learning the English meaning for the German term 'Irresponsible over-lending to backward countries'.
When my German class is up to speed on Irish corruption, I will move it on to advanced body language, sing-songs, getting drunk with constituents, and claiming your feelings have been hurt when questioned on radio or TV about being drunk. Central to this module will be an appreciation of the Irish art of declaring commitment to notional regulation, while at the same time making it clear you have absolutely no intention of complying. I fear this is where I will lose many students, unable for the mental acrobatics necessary to keep up with understanding the dark art of Irish administration.