Rock Bottom

Anyone seeking for a metaphor for all that is wrong with Ireland at the moment need look no farther than the Dublin docklands. There, you will find the proposed new headquarters for Anglo Irish Bank, a building planned in happier days, before the bank imploded and was nationalised. A government strapped for cash as tax… Continue reading Rock Bottom


Thanks to a confidential source, 200 words is in a position to reveal several exclusive fund raising ideas from that An Bord Snip Nua report: Demand a few billion from the EU Commissioners to do an Ahmadinejad on the second Lisbon referendum. After the success of the Ganley Wheelie Bin Gambit during the Ireland Northwest… Continue reading Snip


The Friday Irish Times front page, which went to press an hour or so ago, has a picture of environment minister John Gormley chatting with some national school children. Gormley’s other official duty today was to announce the scrapping of misguided government plans to introduce evoting. Back in March, Gormley conceded it was ‘inconceivable‘ that… Continue reading Inconceivable


How much does PULSE cost? PULSE, in case you’re wondering, stands for Police Using Leading Systems Effectively, a name that screams Retro-Acronym. More importantly, PULSE is the computer database used by An Garda Síochána to record details of everything from police intelligence on criminal gangs to whether you’ve racked up any penalty points in your… Continue reading Heartbeat

Brace Yourselves

Less than a month ago, I described the new tax on public sector pensions and cuts in departmental spending as a minibudget. This month’s minibudget has just been announced, though the full details will not be available for a few weeks. Early predictions include increased excises on the ‘Old Reliables’ – tobacco, alcohol and fuel… Continue reading Brace Yourselves

Dead Weight

The voting machines just won’t go away. The useless machines are stored by local councils under contracts which commit them to pay millions for up to a quarter century. So far, the electronic paperweights have cost €54 million, and the clock up another €200000 a year. The thing is, according to EU law as enshrined… Continue reading Dead Weight


Brian Cowen can’t even rely on the weather these days. Since the talks with unions and employers broke down this morning, it was clear he would have to go it alone, announcing cutbacks without the protective cover of the social partners. At 4pm, he stood to address the Dáil, announcing two billion in cutbacks, including… Continue reading FUD


Donegal county council finds itself faced with an unusual problem. Following complaints that there is no authorisation to display a ‘Stop’ sign in the Gaeltacht using the Irish word ‘Stad’, the council must replace the signs with standard English language ‘Stop’ signs. The council points out that ‘Stop’ is also an Irish word, to assuage… Continue reading Halt