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Stokes twins: pillars of hope

There is a lot of talk these days about positive thinking. The Government are talking positive, beardy economics boffins like John FitzGerald at the ESRI are talking positive, even the man and woman on the street are tiring of the moaning that sustained them through the last year. While two-thirds of them don't believe Brian Lenihan when he tells us the worst is over, you will hear more and more people saying they intend to stop the negativity for the new year because if we all cheer up a bit, that will actually help the economy.

Today, in the spirit of positivity, we announce our first Ambassadors of Hope, people who we believe best exemplify the kind of almost deluded positivity this country needs. Today's Ambassadors of Hope are the Stokes twins -- the Bang brothers -- for overwhelming positivity in the face of all the evidence.

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By the end of last week the Stokes brothers still seemed to think they would continue running their private members' club Residence, despite the fact that they had been called thieves and delinquents by the judge who placed the business into receivership. The boys left court on Thursday still somehow optimistic about a business they no longer owned, which had robbed €1.2m from you, the taxpayer, a business which had never made a profit. They had told the court they were confident that the club could go from losses of two-thirds of a million and using their employees' tax money to pay the bills last year, to making profits this year. The future was so bright these guys had to wear designer shades.

In fact, all the lads had to look forward to was a creditors' meeting the next day in connection with their last business that went wallop owing you, the taxpayer, a million euro. That was Auldcarn, the company that owned the Clarendon Inn, which has debts of €2.3m and no assets. Who else but true Ambassadors of Hope could shut down one business owing a million to the taxpayer and another million-odd to other people, borrow three million and go a couple of hundred yards up the street to open a posh private members' club where they also ran up a million-euro tax bill? And don't forget that behind all this there was a third business, Bang cafe, that also went to the wall.

By the standards of a normal human being, that's one hell of a week or two. Indeed, any normal human being would possibly have been dead from worry over all those millions owed. But the Stokes are not normal human beings. They have a super power called positivity, and it's the kind of thing that will apparently get this country back on its feet. Indeed, when we're finished with them here we should send them to Haiti. Arise then the Bangs, Ambassadors of Hope.

Sunday Independent