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Sunday 2 January 2011

So who should we expel from Ireland?

For the New Year, Ruth Dudley Edwards has been making a list ranging from politicians to pop stars

NOW for another round of the therapeutic party game in which participants fight over who should be expelled from Ireland. Here are my modest proposals.

The Aherns, Bertie and Dermot, were at the top of my list last year, too. Bertie was there last year for insisting our economic disasters had nuttin' to do with him. This year, he powered further ahead of the posse for demeaning his position as an ex-Taoiseach by crouching in a cupboard for a toe- curling News of the World TV advertisement while still thinking himself a credible future president.

While Dermot had aroused my ire in 2009 by his assault on free speech, he has taken my breath away in 2010 by thinking himself entitled to retire at 55 with a pension of €128,300 after 23 years as a TD and 13 in Cabinet. Had he been in the private sector, he would have had to contribute around €35,000 a month to build up the €6.8m pension-pot the taxpayer has unwittingly provided. I'll make room on the deportation plane for the equally greedy and brass-necked Noel Dempsey, 57.

I accept that it's even more outrageous that Michael Fingleton -- under whom Irish Nationwide crashed and burned -- has a pot of £28m. So he'll be in cattle class, beside Fintan O'Toole (sorry, Fintan -- I know you have virtues), whom I'm chucking out for being unbearably sanctimonious these days as he tries to lead the peasants out of ignorance towards enlightenment. Fintan can point out their sins to the erring pensioners, pausing only to gag over occasional songs from Jedward, who are being exiled for aesthetic reasons. Truly, they'll all discover that hell is indeed other people.

Vincent Browne will be there, too, to shout people down, though I don't know if he'll be loud enough to drown out the slogans of Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett (Socialist Workers Party/People-against-Profit Alliance/Irish Anti-War Movement). I'm despatching with Barrett a representative cross-section of some of the more interesting activists with whom he protests (eg Eirigi and other unlovable types). No list of those whom Ireland would be better off without would be complete without the Healy Raes, who stand for everything that is most egregious in Irish political clientelism. Gerry Adams, at present directing his lies to the people of Louth, will be there, too, alongside his protegee, Caitriona Ruane, by common agreement the most divisive and incompetent minister in Stormont.

These emigrants will need spiritual solace, so I'll send them Bono, who should not be allowed to stay in Ireland until he sets a good example on paying taxes, following his band's decision to move part of its business to the Netherlands to cut the tax bill. Yes, I know he means well, but most of his utterances make me cringe, as do the images of him striding through the veldt along with his wife, Ali Hewson, carrying Louis Vuitton bags. They're donating their fees to worthy causes, but they still look like celebrity prats.

Bono will have three Roman Catholic bishops to assist him in spraying passengers with unctuous rhetoric. Cardinal Sean Daly, Bishop Seamus Hegarty and retired Bishop Edward Daly vied with each other to produce the most pathetic and grubby response to the accusations that Church and State colluded to protect Father James Chesney from being arrested over the Claudy bombings. Out, out, out!

The plane is getting full, but I'll make room for a few of the more fanatical global-warming ideologues. All us reasonable people believe that the climate changes: it's been doing so forever. However, as we shiver through unprecedented levels of ice and snow, we are dubious that what we have is man-made global-warming requiring us to invest further hundreds of millions in one-sided research and billions in holding back economic development. Anyone calling sceptics deniers will be on that plane.

Where are the disgraced bankers and property developers? I hear you cry. Well, if I have anything to do with it, the plane-load of expellees will pass in the night an incoming flight transporting the likes of David Drumm from the US to hang about in bedsits in Dublin awaiting charges. They'll be ferried along with a few choice specimens of wanted northern and southern crooks and gangsters from the Spanish Costa del Crime.

As my granny pointed out, a fair exchange is no robbery.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards