Tiger Tales

Essential advice from Póilín on home help and holiday homes

Dear Póilín,

I hadn't paid much attention to all this awful refugee business here, until my home help was deported last week. A lovely girl, very well-mannered and actually quite well educated. And she never stole a thing.

It's been like a political awakening for me. You remember, of course, how difficult it was to get good help back in the 1990s, what with all the poor people getting jobs in computer factories and that. If it wasn't for immigration, many people like myself – good, hardworking Irish families – would have been left without cleaners.

Where do we figure in the Minister's priorities? What about our rights?

It just goes to show how this Government has lost touch with its base.

Perhaps we should start a campaign.

Is mise,



Dear Elizabeth,

I can imagine how upsetting this must be for you, but you have to look on the bright side. By investing in someone from the Third World, during their brief visit here, you have done your bit for world peace.

Somewhere out there is a young woman whom you trained, who is now well qualified to manage her own home or perhaps even get a job as a cleaner in one of the multinationals that are now investing in Third World countries.

In the meantime, things might be looking up here. There are large numbers of hardworking migrants coming over from the 'Communist' countries that joined the EU this year. They don't qualify for social welfare, so they'll be particularly keen for work, and good value too! If you see white people talking in strange accents who don't look like tourists, they're probably Eastern Europeans. You could just stop one and ask if they know anyone who'd like a job.

Do let us know how you get on,


Dear Póilín,

I was down on the Costa last week, staying in our villa outside Marbella and checking on some other investments, at the same time as this awful money-laundering operation was uncovered.

Of course, I read about it in the local press (the Malaga Expat), but little did I think it would be all over the news back home.

So since I've come back, everybody in work has been making snide "witty" remarks and insinuating I was involved in some way. I even got a call from some youngster in RTÉ asking me would I talk to Joe Duffy (whoever he is) about it all.

I wouldn't mind, but I'm a PD voter, with no republican connections at all, and everybody knows I've been investing in the Costa del Sol for years since before it was fashionable.

How can I deal with this awkward situation?




Dear Gerard,

This is a tricky social spot you're in. Obviously, if you deny anything too strenuously, people will think you're trying to hide something. But if you don't address it at all, people may just assume it's true in some way.

But have you considered the implications of letting people think it's true? The popular image of money laundering has changed greatly in recent months, and it's now considered quite racey and upmarket, a bit like insider-trading – or even Cold War espionage, involving Eastern European banks and that.

And you may not have realised it, but the Costa has become a bit passé of late: properties there no longer attract the same class of buyer, and the whole place is decidedly more drab than it was, say, in the late 1980s.

Having what my colleagues in the media like to call "the whiff of semtex" hanging over you might do your personal, social reputation no harm at all.

Good luck,