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Here's to Arthur, and all that cash going to the UK

IT was Ireland's national commercial celebration of alcohol yesterday.

We do the non-commercial celebration of alcohol on St Patrick's Day when around the globe we drink like fish to remind everyone that we have a serious national problem with the sauce.

Thankfully, Diageo is not going to let the world forget that we're problem drinkers between now and next March.

They invested a lot of money and time taking out ads to draw attention to Ireland's second national day of alcohol-admiration - Arthur's day (inset above).

Even though Guinness have been based in London (paying their tax in the UK) for nearly 100 years, Diageo know that the Irish link is worth exploiting.

And if that means they have to ignore that more that 500 Irish people die every year from alcohol related trauma, illness and poisoning, then that's okay.

If it means they turn a blind eye to one of the worst national crises with binge-drinking in Europe, then so be it.

If is means sweeping under the carpet the fact that way more people die of alcohol than die on the roads, then we'll just have to accept it.

So, here's to Arthur, may the UK-based multi-national corporation that now owns the rights to brew his beer continue to make massive profits from its connections to the place his family used to live.

It's torture for McGuinness...

The presidential election has gotten even weirder. The ostensible front-runner in the race, Martin McGuinness, has declared that he did not shoot anyone in the Seventies.

He announced this on a local radio station in Cork, which is great for those in Cork who heard it and thereby got a sense of the wider context, but for the rest of us, it seems like he's dealing with each decade separately to drum up attention.

"I didn't kill anyone in the Seventies, but listen in next week when I reveal whether or not I knee-capped anyone in the Eighties! And to wrap up the month I'll be doing a special talk on whether or not I administered punishment beatings in the Nineties or head-butted old ladies in the Noughties."

Meanwhile, the success of David Norris's comeback can only mean he's learned from Martin's lads and has begun administering punishment beatings to senators and TDs because there's no other way to explain how he's getting so many to return to supporting him.

You'd think they'd made up their minds weeks ago, but one by one they're re-declaring for him.

That's because he has them blindfolded and strapped to tables in Leinster House where he pelts them with giblets and reads them Joyce through a megaphone.

If you stand quietly outside the Dail you can almost hear the haunting sound of Ming Flanagan sobbing and begging for freedom.

... and he's a rotten shot, too

While we're on the topic of Martin McGuinness not killing anyone in the Seventies, we should make it clear that he did admit to shooting at people during that decade.

Which means either he's like the A-Team and deliberately misses because he's a gentle pacifist at heart or he's both homicidal and a really bad shot.

Either way, his Sinn Fein colleague, Assembly minister Caral Ni Chuilin raced to create a distraction from discussions about his past by tweeting that his lead critic, Micheal McDowell, was a 'complete gobsh**e'. This is not being viewed as appropriate language for a minister, but luckily her ministerial special adviser, Mary McArdle, is uniquely placed to guide her on this complex issue, as Ms McArdle is both an advisor and a convicted terrorist murderer. Which is handy.

q Quote of the week came from Jack Nicklaus when Matt Cooper on The Last Word asked him why he doesn't play much golf anymore. "My expectations are a little bit higher than most people might think a 71 year-old's should be. But I guess I just haven't gotten over being me."