Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Logan Ingalls via Flickr Batt O'Keeffe has been putting on his poker face. Or saying life is like a game of poker. Or something.
# Bailout Lexicon
I'm a politician, bail me out of here
Government members have been spinning themselves silly to deny a bailout – does a spot of creative translation to cut through the jargon.

SICK OF SPIN? Jaded with jargon? The past week has been stuffed to the brim with euphemisms and hot air as the Government tried not to give a straight answer to any question regarding a possible bailout of the Irish economy.

This morning, brings you the rough guide to what’s been going on in the brains behind those fast-moving lips. Here’s our jargon-free lexicon to what the sultans of spin have really been thinking:

  • Dick Roche, BBC’s Today programme, Tuesday morning: “There is a problem with liquidity in banks, there is no doubt about that, but I don’t think that the appropriate response to that would be for European finance ministers to panic.”

TRANSLATION: “Did you hear me? Whatever ye do, DON’T PANIC. Does anyone have a brown paper bag I could hyperventilate into?”

  • Dick Roche, statement on Tuesday lunchtime after ITV reporter tweeted he had told her a bailout was imminent:  “(Dick Roche) denies vehemently that he said any such thing.”

TRANSLATION: “(Dick Roche) most certainly did not let the cat out of the bag. I didn’t, did I? No, I definitely didn’t. I think.”

  • Brian Cowen, in the Dail, on Tuesday evening: “We are living in a very fragile time and we need to be careful about what we say so that we don’t add to the turbulence.”

TRANSLATION: “No, Roche, I’m not looking at you. I’ve something in my eye, is all.”

  • Batt O’Keeffe in Dromoland yesterday: “We’ve got to play poker over the next couple of days to see what cards these people have to play, what exactly they have in mind. We would like to see the colour of their money.”

TRANSLATION: “Lads, they have us over a barrel.”

  • Brian Cowen, to reporters yesterday: “The statements made by ministers over the course of last weekend and since then have been firmly based on the fact that we were not involved in negotiations and we’re still not involved in negotiations.”

TRANSLATION: “We’re involved in negotiations. But we’re not. *Wink*”

  • Eamon Ryan, on today’s Morning Ireland: “We may need help from our international European colleagues…”

TRANSLATION: “There’s no maybe about it. And now that the dog on the street knows about it, I hope the electorate shall remember that it was the Greens that told you first. Sort of.”

If you are a Government minister cornered by a microphone-brandishing Ursula Halligan, talk your way out with one of’s pick ‘n’ mix bailout stock phrases:

SAY THIS: “Absolutely nothing is taking place.” MEAN THIS: “We’re absolutely taking a bailout.”

SAY THIS: “Nothing is written in stone.” MEAN THIS: “Pass the chisel.”

SAY THIS: “These are just sensible, precautionary discussions.” MEAN THIS: “These are discussions about when we’ll take the bailout.”

SAY THIS: “It is inaccurate to say IMF officials are already here.” MEAN THIS: “The plane loaded with IMF, ECB and EC officials is due to land in Dublin in half an hour – technically they’re still in international airspace.”

SAY THIS: “There is no undue pressure being exerted on Ireland.” MEAN THIS: “Why are our ears bleeding?”

SAY THIS: “This is nothing to do with the banks.” MEAN THIS: “Of course it’s got something to do with the bloody banks.”

SAY THIS: “Troubled assets relief programme.” MEAN THIS: “Bailout.”

If all else fails, do a Patrick Honohan on it and – wait for it – tell the truth. The Governor of the Central Bank this morning became the first Irish official to admit Ireland needs aid and will probably take it:

Rachael English on Morning Ireland: So it is your understanding then that there will be a loan and that we will have to accept it?

Patrick Honohan: It’s my expectation that that will happen, yes. Absolutely.

Rachael English: How big is this loan likely to be?

Patrick Honohan: It will be a large loan because the purpose of the amount to be advanced, or made available, is to show Ireland has sufficient firepower to deal with any concerns of the market.

Rachael English: When you say very substantial, are we talking tens of billions, 60, 70 billion, maybe?

Patrick Honohan: Tens of billions, yes.