The man shook his head, sighed, and then nodded resignedly, as if trying to decide which expression of disgust best suited the occasion. "Where would you get it, Brendan?", he asked. "My God. Where would you? Coast to Coast." He made a noise like he'd just discovered a fly in his drink. "Bbwatttshhh!!!!"
THIS HAS BEEN A STRANGE and unsatisfactory season for Ireland. Two matches, two defeats is bad enough, but the problem for the Irish team is that there seems to be little that can be done to radically improve its performance. Paddy Agnew on Ireland's 1981 international season.
One of the central issues in the forthcoming general election campaign will be the management of the economy by Fianna Fail. This debate has already begun in Magill with a review by UCD, economist Paddy Geary, which concluded that the strategy was reckless and certain to lead to balance of payments difficulties and huge foreign borrowing. The author of this strategy, Martin O'Donoghue, defended the policy in the last issue of Magill, pointing out that nobody else came up with an alternative proposal on how to deal with the mammoth employment creation problem.
The last remaining reporter on the news desk, after everyone else has gone away for the night, is called the Night-town Man. The term owes something to Joyce, something to the old Dublin whorehouse district that he celebrated. In the early hours of Saturday, February 14, Frank Duignan was the Night-town Man in the Irish Press.
Death has been calling in a lot of IOUs. Apart from the private sorrows and the never ending slaughter at the cutting edge of politics - in such places as Afghanistan and El Salvador, a lot of reference points on the public landscape have been disappearing. Hitchcock, Lennon, McQueen, Sellers, West, Raft. Not to mention Col. Sanders, the scourge of the Kentucky chicken, who may be gone but whose aroma lingers on.
There has been room in the Irish Sunday newspaper market, for a long time, for what is called a quality paper. The English quality papers accentuated, rather than filled, that gap: their coverage of Irish news was scanty and sporadic; their interest in Irish cultural affairs was confined to reviewing occasional Irish books and paying an annual, wide-eyed visit to Dublin for the Theatre Festival. Then, three months ago, the Sunday Tribune made its appearance.
Last season, Ireland discovered just how important it was for their national team to have a game before Christmas. They beat Australia convincingly on a summer tour in 1979, something that was beyond the capability of Wales the year before, and when they returned, they rested on their laurels until the beginning of the 1980 international championship seven months later.
The author of the Fianna Fail 1977 Election Manifesto defends its economic strategy, pointing out that the employment targets were actually exceeded and that the critics of the policy have never defined an alternative way of meeting the massive employment problem the country faces.
The economic background to Gene Fitzgerald's first Budget could scarcely have been less favourable. Government borrowing was 145 per cent of GNP and the annual deficit on the balance of payments was more than £700 million or 9 per cent of GNP. For the second successive year the borrowing targets set in the Budget had been missed by large margins; in each case, actual borrowing far exceeded planned levels. There was a lot of measured comment about the incontrovertible deterioration in the national finances, much of it responsible and non-partisan.
Gene Kerrigan visited two routine party functions and found the vote-getting machines well oiled.