Tuesday, May 13, 2014

'The Donald' Invests in Ireland. Huzzah!

The Donald stepped off the plane at Shannon Airport yesterday to tell the international investment community about his latest, always triumphant, purchase: this time a world-class golf course.

It is reported that Trump purchased Doonbeg Golf Club, an 18-hole links including a five-star hotel, spa, and 400 acres of prime land located in County Clare, for a song and mere pocket change at €15 million. This is a fraction of its value at the top of the Celtic Tiger, but the Club suffered the usual indignities of Irish recession and had recently been put into receivership. Undoubtedly, more than a few Irish people who had bet on the Club's success when it was established in 2002 are shaking their heads at billionaire Trump's usual timing.

While your intrepid reporter was not present at Trump's triumphant announcement it can only be assumed that the coming of The Donald to Ireland signifies a turn-around in Irish economic fortunes. Or maybe not. What was notable was that the Government found the mogul's presence so critical that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan took time off to meet Trump at the airport. We're not sure who was running Ireland's economy during Noonan's absence for this state occasion but it was decidedly not Noonan.

Trump said that hundreds of jobs will be created through his Irish investment. As reported in The Irish Times, Trump states, "This is one of those that is going to be truly iconic (writer's note: Or did he mean 'ironic'?). This is going to be one that Ireland is going to be extremely proud of."

While The Donald's timely investment will undoubtedly save the jobs of the previously doomed golf club, we worry that Trump - having savored a first taste of Irish bonhomie - will want much, much more for his largess and our government will quickly cave in. Reported to be worth over US$3.5 billion, Trump could:

  • Buy up approximately 1/10th of all Bank Debt
  • Open a new Irish Bank
  • Purchase Aer Lingus and have plenty of change to spare
  • Create a new Trump Palace in Limerick which Noonan, who also represents the area in government, would undoubtedly appreciate
  • Buy Irish citizenship and avail of the €40,000 tax free artists exemption when publishing his next book
  • Run for Taoiseach rather than President of the United States
Whatever way Trump plays it, he's going to have Ireland eating out of his hand and the government is going to love it. Which is going to trouble many Irish people because the majority now hate our government. Always rising taxes, ever-decreasing disposable incomes, and an unemployment rate in the double-digits can do that to people. And with some exceptions, the Irish don't particularly take sides with the rich. So if (when) Trump screws up, the backlash is going to be great fun to watch.

But for the present, Trump is going to love Ireland just like the Irish government loves him. Until he offends someone, of course, like he usually does. Or until he realizes that the Irish can be a begrudging lot and that anytime soon some of the population may well start calling him "thick as a plank" and "the carpet wearing godshite" and "the freeloading fecker from hell."  Then they'll begin peaceful demonstrations on and around his new investment, perhaps blocking access for the rich and famous who will inevitably want to visit The Donald's latest investment punt.

So welcome to Ireland, Mr Trump. And a Cead Mile Failte to you. But one piece of advice: don't piss off the natives or they'll sell that pretty little rug you wear on top of your head quicker than they'd offer you a pint. And not even you, as clever as you are, could stop 'em, so quick are the Irish to get their own back.

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