Wednesday 21 March 2018

Thomas Molloy: Pantomime villain Seanie has last laugh in comedy of errors

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

TWO dramas were played out in two of Dublin's finest 18th Century buildings yesterday. But, like a comedy of errors, it often appeared as if the plays' directors had accidentally mixed up their two protagonists by giving a deferential welcome to a bankrupt who has harmed the country's finances almost beyond repair; while subjecting the man charged with clearing up the bankrupt's mess to an ill-tempered grilling more suited to a playground than the Dail.

The first drama was a two-minute comedy in the Four Courts yesterday morning when banker Sean FitzPatrick arrived in a green Jaguar to meet old friends, shake a few hands and flash his trademark grin as he told the court that he was living on an income of €188 a month because a few of his many investments are making a loss.

The other drama, a two-hour Punch and Judy show, saw Finance Minister Brian Lenihan walk to the Dail to explain to the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service that the national deficit will see a "substantial spike" this year because of the billions needed to restructure the bank which Mr FitzPatrick once ruled. Mr Lenihan has thankfully been given encouraging news on his health but he must have wondered from time to time whether he was hallucinating as he withstood a barrage of jumbled questions and once again shouldered the blame for his unpopular bailout of Anglo Irish -- a decision which has come to define his period in office and make the necessary cuts in day-to-day spending all but impossible to justify.

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