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Saturday 20 January 2018

The IMF is coming! Quick everyone, look really poor

The eyes of our financial overlords will soon gaze down upon us -- so let's look sorry for the boom, says Brendan O'Connor

YOU may have been under the impression in recent days and even weeks that things have not been so bad.

You may have got this impression from many different quarters.

You may have noticed, for example, that there has been a certain amount of what could almost be referred to as praise for our economy from certain people. Enda says Angela and Co were very complimentary to him in Europe last week. They're even bigging us up in the sacred Financial Times (which is actually just a bunch of journalists like in any other newspaper but somehow we crave its approval).

Indeed, you may have felt a certain feeling of smugness as the Greeks, and indeed the rest of Europe, were held up as acting irresponsibly while we were often mentioned in dispatches as being an example to everyone.

You may also have found yourself enjoying the weather in the last week or so. You may have knocked off work a bit early and gone to the park. You may have even joined thousands of other Dubliners to sit at benches drinking steins of beer and eating foot-long German sausage for something called Oktoberfest.

You may also have enjoyed the low-key celebrations when Dublin won the All-Ireland. Indeed, you may have partaken in the two- to three-day bender that followed that historic victory. You may even have seen ye all in Coppers.

Similarly, you may have enjoyed Ireland's three victories (hopefully four by the time you read this) in the Rugby World Cup. You might have particularly enjoyed our hammering of the Wallabies.

You may also have found yourself enjoying the various shenanigans surrounding the presidential election, and the fact that on many days Norris and Co have managed to push the economy back to its natural home on the business pages.

All in all, you may have come to the conclusion that, in fact, life is not so bad -- that this little country of ours isn't as terrible as you thought, and things could possibly be OK, some day. Well, you need to erase all those happy memories and all positive thoughts from your heads right now.

It is your patriotic duty to forget that all those wonderful uplifting things ever happened. Turn your smile upside down, bend your back a little, and take off your glad rags.

Because the people from the IMF are coming to town again in a week's time and the last thing we need them to see is that we've been having a bit of a late summer party for ourselves.

There has been scant evidence of deep recession on our streets and in our pubs and restaurants and cafes recently. And no one wants to be a buzzkill, but we don't want to give these people the wrong impression.

So for the next few weeks we need to stop enjoying the circus that is the presidential election, we need to not go for a few pints after work even if it is a scorcher, and if we do go for a few pints after work they must be taken indoors in the dark.

Our response to any sporting victories should be muted.

The eyes of the IMF, and the world, are upon us temporarily, so we need to act poor, downtrodden and, most of all, we need to act really, really sorry for the boom.

Sunday Independent

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