IT was the day we finally became a Ba-NAMA Republic.
The National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) has reduced the State to little more than a bent fence buying up the iffy goods our developer spivs can’t get rid of in the hope the shoddy items can be sold onto another mug somewhere down the line before the international finance cops take too much of an interest.
After another Moody day on the money markets — Moody’s being the credit ratings agency that downgraded a dozen of our banks from level C for crisis-hit, to Level D for definitely dodgy — Ireland needed an avenger to speak up for the little people.
And then the voice of the little people appeared — Richard Bruton.
Richard’s been reading up on the lingo and he was ready to wipe the trading room floors with those big boys trying to hold Ireland Inc to ransom.
Tough-talking Dickie said he wasn’t bothered if the banks “took a haircut”, but he was sure as hell the taxpayer was not gonna take the “hit” for that “haircut”.
Confused? Well Ritchie “the deputy Don” Bruton was only getting started, because then he put a contract out on wasteful Government spending, warning that any programme that didn’t “wash its face” was gonna get it when the Blueshirt Crew took over the lower east side (of the Oireachtas).
The street talk proved infectious as Labour’s finance tour de force Joan Burton got in on the act.
Now, Ms Burton is very impressive when attacking Brian Lenihan after finding some timebomb in a piece of legislation that the minister had hoped would be missed in the usual air of national crisis and despair that pervades his performances, but, sadly, Joan is not one of the Dáil’s natural comedians.
While Pat Rabbitte only has to open his mouth for the whole House to laugh with him — and the Greens’ Paul Gogarty only has to do the same for the whole House to laugh at him, Joan should really stick to what she does best.
Ms Burton had also latched onto the “haircut” slang relating to developers leaving the banks financially short, but decided to try and play it for laughs.
While Ms Burton is rightly known for her immaculate coiffure and certainly never looks as if she might have been dragged through a hedge fund backwards, mixing haircuts and high finance proved a bit tortuous for those listening.
“Which kind of haircut will the taxpayer will be asked to take? Is it a recession haircut that will leave us scalped? Or will it be a light trim for developers?”
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and Health Minister Mary Harney both began fiddling with their hair, almost subconsciously, and as Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue had been given the green light to play the sexist card, he duly obliged: “Deputy Burton, you have to go head up with your hairdresser. I am not allowing this.”
Maybe it was because the Dáil was breaking up for one of its well deserved marathon holidays, but Ms Burton was on a roll. She then turned her laughter fire on Mr Lenihan’s banking expert Peter Bacon.
“Is the Government now putting all its eggs in the Bacon basket? We had Breakfast Roll Man at the last election. Now we have a Bacon roll served up to the electorate.”
For once, the Ceann Comhairle spoke for the nation: “That is enough for one morning, Deputy Burton.”
But joke-fest Joan just would not get the hint and stretched her breakfast routine even further: “... with no Greens on the side!”
Stop it Joan, You’re killing us! No, seriously. Stop it.
All in all, a bit of a Ba-NAMA-drama.
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