Monday 10 December 2018

The Burren Supremacy

The Doonbeg resort owned by Donald Trump. Photo: PA
The Doonbeg resort owned by Donald Trump. Photo: PA
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

You'd have to admit, we're shameless really. We're ferocious attention seekers, and a lot of the time, we don't care how we get it. Admittedly, we were probably especially vulnerable to a bit of attention last week. It hadn't been a great week here in Ireland, and the national psyche was feeling a bit battered and bruised. We were slightly sad, slightly ashamed and beating up on ourselves.

So any bit of affection anyone showed us, we were going to take it. Even if it was the Russia mafia. Besides which, anyone who's been watching McMafia on the BBC knows that the Russian mafia operates a kind of a franchising system not unlike McDonalds. So when they come to town there's plenty of jobs for the locals. Indeed, given our craven behaviour when it comes to anyone offering a few jobs, presumably if the Russian mafia did openly land in Shannon to inspect "their" property in Doonbeg, Michael Noonan or Paschal Donohoe would be there to greet them, with colleens playing the harp, and maybe some Irish dancing, and large banners saying, "We welcome our new Russian mafia overlords and their foreign directski investski".

Not that - our lawyers have insisted we stress at this point - Doonbeg is owned by the Russian mafia. It's owned by someone much worse in the eyes of most people. Indeed, there are many who would think it would be like waking from a bad dream to find it isn't Donald Trump who owns the place after all, but only the Russian mafia.

Which again, I stress, it doesn't.

But it turns out that the people who claim Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election have also been asking questions as to whether the money for his golf course at Doonbeg came from the Russian Mafia.

The evidence seems pretty sketchy, in fairness. Apparently financial statements show that hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into Trump's UK and Irish golf courses, but the courses themselves are "sinks" and don't make any money.

To which evidence, Irish people say, "And your point is what exactly?" In this country, there is nothing unusual about pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into property that makes no money. Indeed, about 10 years ago that kind of thing made up about three quarters of the economy. And indeed, the notion of pumping loads of money into some crazy notion of making your sporting hobby into a breadwinner won't seem strange either to that large portion of Irish people who either dream of owning, or already own, some or all of a racehorse they swear will come good, some day.

If daft wheezes that make no financial sense are proof of the involvement of the Russian Mafia, then paint us all red and call us Boris.

Sunday Independent

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