Dublin, Ireland

Ireland’s economy took another turn for the worse today when it was revealed that the country has not paid the electricity bill, gas bill, rent or home insurance for the past two months.

The day to day management of the national accounts, carried out by Brian Lenihan TD, was on a knife-edge but had appeared to be back under control last week when the Irish stock exchange posted better than expected figures.  The untimely arrival of a bill from EazyPass finally caused panic in government.

A source close to Lenihan familiar with the matter explained:

“We’ve been running a budget deficit in real terms of around €49 bn, but we had all that balanced and sorted.  This bill for €44.60 for use of the M50 toll road has finally, officially put our economy into proper red territory.  Coupled with the gas bill for €202, the €79 electricity bill and the rent which is now two months overdue, I simply don’t know how we’re going to cope.”

A leading government economist, speaking to nábídána on condition of anonymity, admitted Ireland is in financial meltdown.

“Practically the whole cabinet is working two jobs right now.  Mary Hanafin does shifts at the Starbucks in Dún Laoghaire, Dermot Ahern works Saturdays at a petrol station in Louth, Brian Cowen cycles around on an advertising trike at Stephen’s Green and John Gormley just got turned down for a job selling Avon cosmetics.  They’re doing everything they can, but this extra forty-odd euros is crippling. There’s only Tesco Club Card vouchers over the horizon, and they probably won’t come in until next week at the earliest. ”

As a result, the government is finding it hard to borrow money.  Whilst Spike Hanratty, from Tallaght, has lent Noel Dempsey €100 until the weekend to see him get by, he is immovable on the repayment date.

“I’m buying a bicycle, so I’ll need the cash to buy a helmet” he said, when confronted by reporters on Monday night.

A statement is apparently being prepared by the Irish Central Bank ; a further anonymous source said it will mostly consist of an angry, muffled scream and the offer from an unnamed member of Cabinet to blow Nicolas Sarkozy for €50.