Sunday 18 March 2018

Pretend-gambling that ruined Ireland

Aged 10, Declan Lynch knew his dad would make good his losses on the Tote. Now we're doing the same for the money men

FOR a while now, the relationship between the people of Ireland and our overlords in the financial services sector has reminded me of something. But I just couldn't place it.

I could sense the general outline of it, and I felt that it had some direct parallel in my own experience, and yet the damn thing just wouldn't come to me -- until the other day. I think it was all those reports about Paddy Power now being the biggest financial institution in Ireland, Paddy Power expanding into Europe, Paddy Power taking over Australia, that triggered it. And now it's all clear to me.

When I was a small boy, my father would take me to the odd race-meeting. In particular I remember the annual meeting at Laytown, on the strand, and the temporary Tote buildings which were assembled for the day -- being too young for the bookies, I would do my betting on the Tote.

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