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It's Bailout Time....Everybody

Ciaran McCarthy - Editorial Sligo Today

Bailout fever is breaking out all over the country and it looks as though the Government, despite denials will be joining the club, sooner rather than later. The pressure must becoming unbearable for Cowen et al as the Eurocrats are trying to stuff billions into their pockets to protect the Union and the Euro. He'll have to accept the 'bailout' soon

Another 'bailout' on the cards is Portugal as they have threatened to pull out of the Eurozone, ditch the Euro and revert to the Escudo to balance their economy. Maybe Ireland should be thinking along the same lines, after all we're PIGS too. These are the troubled countries with the EU, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Some suggest that we should go the whole hog, no pun intended, and not only dump the Euro but rejoin the British Commonwealth and revert not to the Punt, but to Sterling. A novel idea and certainly one debating.

Talking about Britain, another 'bailout' about to happen is the jumping ship from the House of Commons (British Parliament) and the Northern Assembly by the Sinn Féin leader. Gerry Adams now wants to stand in the safe Louth seat being vacated by Arthur Morgan, who is currently the finance spokesman for the party, an oxymoron perhaps. But will he bailout from the two aforementioned bodies prior to the election? or will he wait to see if the good burghers of Louth want a 'nordie' representing them in the Dáil. Wait, there must be a rule preventing a foreign politician trying to seek a seat in Ireland while still representing an alien state. It is known that he refuses to take his Westminster seat as it involves an oath of allegiance to the Queen, but he still accepts her shilling without fail every month. Nice work. Still, if he's elected, he will have an opportunity to thank her personally when she visits the Dáil next year.

Another 'bailout' highlighted to the media is the refusal of the Department of Health to, believed to be on Minister Harney's orders, send out advance notice of the beleaguered minister's visits to various openings and announcements throughout Ireland. This 'bailout' from normal press protocol might have something to do with retail outlets in rural towns reporting a marked increase in the sales of red paint, cheese and eggs whenever the regional press publish her itinerary for a forthcoming visit. The press are now notified after the event and supplied with a photograph taken by an 'approved photographer' whose family lines, political and religious leanings dating back six generations, both paternally and maternally, have been thoroughly vetted.

It would appear that the employer's umbrella bodies are advocating bailing out of the Croke Park agreement, under which no civil servants can be sacked from State or semi-State companies. However they can avail of a voluntary redundancy package, get a bag full of dosh and then be rehired on a consultancy or agency contract. At least that what happens in Aer Lingus and the HSE. Part of this 'bailout' would also see the end of the Minimum Wage Agreement which would further reduce the weekly take-home of many foreign nationals employed at this monetary level. This would no doubt add to the coffers of Ryanair as many would bail out, sorry repatriate to their respective countries.

Perhaps the Government, in it's infinite wisdom, should consider another 'bailout'. As the politicians, like a river, love to take the path of easiest resistance, they could keep all the bondholders happy, keep the European Central Bank happy, keep the International Monetary Fund happy, refuse to renege on any of the country's debts, keep the nation itself happy. Instead of annoying all these international heavyweights they should just 'stitch up' one. Shell.

Bailing out of this agreement which gave this parasitical company the rights to our vast Corrib energy reserves, for nothing would be a plus, the first in years. The value of this basket of wealth is believed to be in excess of €15bn. That's €15,000,000,000. Take it back, tell Shell to 'please go away.'

In one swift mercenary move the county's financial problems can be somewhat alleviated. As a bonus, think of all the votes in Mayo could be secured. Share some of the good fortune with those who served time at the pleasure of the State to protect their families and communities from the ravages of Shell, just look to what this company 'achieved' in Nigeria. Let Shell sue the nation for compensation, the Government is a past master of procrastination and defending actions though the 'money no object' court system.

They could tie up Shell for generations in the Irish legal system. The barristers could have a field day, sorry years, to replace the Tribunal gravy trains. It would keep hard-pressed court reporters in gainful employment for years. The politicians would be national heroes. There's no downside this initiative.

Go on give it a try, ah go wan, go wan go wan....

Ciaran McCarthy