Preaching as far afield as Ethiopia, or so it is said, the Apostle Matthew (Christians insist that the Gospel writer and the companion of Jesus are the same person, although some dispute this, based on the likelihood of languages a typical tax collector might have been familiar with, and the language in which the Gospel was written. Whatever) has been adopted as the patron saint of the money men.
I thought it appropriate then to base this post on him, what with the continuing brouhaha around the economy, and especially in light of the alarming news about Greece and Ireland. As far as the green republic, everyone seems aghast that the once mighty Celtic Tiger economy has fallen so far so fast, but an interesting point was made on the Today Programme this morning, to the effect that things weren't exactly a bed of roses for the Irish poor during the great boom time of Dublin stag parties, luxury golf courses, and whatever the hell else fed the beast. Something along the lines of double the amount of people losing their homes and double the number falling below the poverty line. Jaysus himself knows what kind of unholy mess the place is in now. Those who work the hardest, and deliver the most value, are of course the ones most at threat, facing further job cuts and reductions in salary, while the Taoiseach and his cronies (I think we all know that Irish politics has long led the way in delivering graft to the people) continue to have the craic with abandon.
And the first republic (I do like those 'how much can I borrow?' ads embedded in the Grauniad stories - they display real sensitivity, don't you think?) as I guess it could be called, they say is suffering as a result of EU membership, forcing harsh decisions on the ministers as they skulk around Athens in their Mercedes, dodging the barricades and braziers. The dire warnings are of course that the suffering endured and about to be endured in these two places (not to mention Iceland and Dubai) will soon be heading our way. Dire days indeed.