Lise Hand: Bad Eurodoggies -- will EU overlords let us off the leash?
WHAT a sorry bunch we are now. Was it only three years ago this week that Ireland cheerfully proffered the middle digit at the Boys in Brussels and gave the Lisbon Treaty the bum's rush?
Sure we were all still happily labouring under the delusion that we were cock-of-the-EU-walk, and that we didn't need any pinstriped pencil-pushers from Europe telling us what to do, no sirree.
And as far as most of the citizenry were concerned, Jean-Claude was that preposterously musclebound Belgian bloke who was good at kung fu.
Oh, how times have changed.
The economy fell over the cliff with the graceless speed of a drunken man hurtling off a bar stool and a chastened populace voted for Lisbon in a second referendum while promising to be diligent Europhiles forever more.
But it was too late. We were convicted of first-degree fecklessness and manslaughter of a Tiger and duly sentenced to spend a long Siberian spell on the EU naughty step.
And to put a tin hat on it, last November in marched the IMF/EU/ECB Troika and it was game over for our economic sovereignty.
And now look. The new household names are Trichet and Rehn and Von Rompuy and Barroso and Lagarde and Merkel, and all we want to do is crawl out of the doghouse and get tossed a couple of concessionary bones for being good little doggies.
These days, both the Government and some (though not all) of the Opposition are obsessed with every utterance, grunt, hint and haiku that falls from the lips of our European overlords, submitting each subordinate clause-filled statement to the sort of intense examination which TV dietician Gillian McKeith bestows on an offering of poo.
Yesterday dawned with MEP Gay Mitchell gazing into the Euro-entrails on 'Morning Ireland'. He was parsing and analysing the latest remarks from the new overlord on the block, Mario Draghi, the Italian chap tipped to take over from Jean-Claude Trichet as boss of the European Central Bank later this year.
Gay was insistent that Mario's use of the phrase "we have to weigh it", in terms of giving medium-term loans to our banjaxed banks was A Good Thing.
And a few hours later during Leaders' Questions, Micheal Martin was scolding the Taoiseach about what the Fianna Fail leader regarded as a reprehensible dereliction of Enda's duty as a Good Eurodoggie.
"What has happened to the pledge the Taoiseach made days before the election to use his contacts in Europe to arrange a great rush of meetings with European leaders?" he demanded.
Oh but the Taoiseach was most indignant.
Sure weren't they blue in the face talking to the overlords, resulting in "confirmation from the Troika itself, the IMF, Olli Rehn, Christine Lagarde and a whole range of others of Ireland's case for a reduction of interest, which was approved in principle", he retorted.
"The relationship of this country with our European partners was nothing short of disgraceful," said Enda, who was working himself up into a right snit.
And Fianna Fail was to blame for being Bad Eurodoggies.
"The reason for that is that ministers in the last government did not attend meetings they were supposed to attend, and if they did speak, they spoke only on a confined basis about elements of this country and had no contribution to make in the broader context of Europe," he retaliated.
Micheal was outraged. "The assertion you've just made about ministers in the former government is a most reprehensible one. It is a low charge that has no substance, and he should withdraw it," he challenged an unapologetic Enda.
Mon Dieu. What will our overlords make of such squabbling?
When EU President Herman Van Rompuy arrives here tomorrow, will he be very cross?
Or is it all (sorry, Gillian), just a load of merde?