Saturday 20 October 2018

We're a global laughing stock -- and we fully deserve to be

Brian Lenihan's humiliation last Friday shows the difficulty we face in avoiding IMF intervention, write Daniel McConnell and Roisin Burke

After a day of robust performances in defence of his "horrendous" banking and fiscal policies on Thursday, including a career-best performance on Prime Time, Brian Lenihan was brought down to earth with a bang on Friday.

We were told yesterday the finance minister was publicly ridiculed and humiliated in a botched conference call with international investors that was intended to calm fear over the country's economic woes. According to a Daily Telegraph report, Mr Lenihan had been speaking for less than two minutes on Friday before a mistake by Citigroup meant the bank's clients could all be heard on the line.

As the 200-plus investors realised their lines were not muted many began to heckle Mr Lenihan ferociously. As he did his best to deliver his pitch, some traders began making what one banker described as "chimp sounds", while another cried out "dive, dive".

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