Easy tiger:

More signs we could be spend­ing our way into trou­ble

Irish Independent - - News Economy - Kim Bie­len­berg

THIS week, there has been a mas­sive €3m co­caine seizure and dire warn­ings of wild over­spend­ing by the Gov­ern­ment.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion has got so ex­pen­sive that min­is­ters com­plain that they can’t af­ford to stay in the cap­i­tal.

A fort­night ago, we re­ported on signs that the pre-crash Celtic Tiger is back – from Ber­tie-style tax give­aways to drinkers in the Shel­bourne open­ing cham­pagne with a sword.

So what are the other signs that the spend­ing party has started – and we could end up with an ex­pen­sive eco­nomic hang­over?

1. Economists say Leo & Co are blow­ing it The State’s bud­getary watch­dog, the Fis­cal Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil, is the lat­est body to at­tack the Gov­ern­ment for “re­peat­edly” miss­ing its fi­nan­cial tar­gets. The coun­cil said Bud­get 2019, which al­lows for a €4.5bn spend­ing in­crease next year, was “not con­ducive to pru­dent eco­nomic and bud­getary

man­age­ment”. But Leo knows bet­ter and in­sisted pub­lic spend­ing is mod­est.

2. Dy­lan McGrath charges €120 for a steak When the econ­omy is over­heat­ing, con­di­tions are ideal for a celebrity chef from the Celtic Tiger era to cook up a treat. At his new restau­rant Shel­bourne So­cial in the heart of Dublin 4, Dy­lan McGrath charges up to €120 for a steak plat­ter: “30-day dry-aged rib eye with pick­led red, fried chard, and café de Paris Hol­landaise”.

And do you want some spuds with that? You could go for the “thin slices of wagyu beef on crispy pota­toes with sesame, gar­lic, hot sauce and crème fraiche” for €45.

If you think it’s a touch pricey, just re­mem­ber it’s not just a restau­rant. It’s a “des­ti­na­tion”.

3. Ad­vent cal­en­dars for €450

God be with the days when an ad­vent cal­en­dar was a card for kids with win­dows open­ing onto pic­tures of the Holy Fam­ily.

Now ad­vent cal­en­dars open a win­dow into ev­ery­thing from over­priced scented can­dles and mini bot­tles of gin to age-de­fy­ing beauty prod­ucts – and they can set you back up to €450.

What bet­ter way than to look for­ward to the ar­rival of our Lord Saviour than to open a win­dow con­tain­ing Estée Lauder Ad­vanced Night Re­pair Serum and Or­gasm Blusher?.

On the fifth day of Christ­mas my true love gave to me Mini Full Fat Eye Lashes.

Corgi pro­duced a sock ad­vent cal­en­dar for €450 and it sold out in Ire­land. It’s ideal for those dark nights when it can be hard to find a match­ing pair.

4. Prawn sand­wich bri­gade whoops it up again If you were think­ing of join­ing the shmooz­ing set in the cor­po­rate hospi­tal­ity boxes of the Aviva sta­dium for the Six Nations match against Eng­land, you are too late. The so-called “prawn sand­wich bri­gade” is in its el­e­ment again and tick­ets com­monly cost­ing over €700 each are sold out.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port this week, the IRFU asked RTÉ to stop show­ing footage of guests in its cor­po­rate boxes dur­ing live cov­er­age. Is there a dan­ger view­ers will suf­fer from boom envy?

5. Restau­rants want de­posits – just to book a ta­ble Ir­ish restau­ra­teurs called for the in­tro­duc­tion of non-re­fund­able book­ing de­posits just for the priv­i­lege of eat­ing in their es­tab­lish­ments.

The Restau­rants As­so­ci­a­tion of Ire­land wants de­posits to halt the prob­lem of peo­ple not turn­ing up

What next? With prices sky high, should din­ers be en­cour­aged to take out a mort­gage, or a PCP loan, where they pay a bal­loon pay­ment for the meal af­ter the dessert?

6. Christ­mas house­hold spend­ing soars to €2,690 We will spend a to­tal of €4.65bn dur­ing the pe­riod – €150m more than last Christ­mas.

Not sur­pris­ing when some fam­i­lies seem to have two or three dif­fer­ent types of poul­try, more than one tree, and think noth­ing of shelling out over €2,000 on speak­ers on Cy­ber Mon­day.

7. Not even a minister can af­ford a roof over their head A group of dis­grun­tled Fine Gael junior min­is­ters were re­ported to have com­plained they can­not af­ford to stay in Dublin mid-week due to spi­ralling ho­tel costs. The poor dears have to make do on a salary of €130,000, but don’t get ac­com­mo­da­tion ex­penses.

Per­haps they could take up a sug­ges­tion of Peo­ple Be­fore Profit coun­cil­lor John Lyons. He wants a change to plan­ning reg­u­la­tions to al­low fam­i­lies to pro­vide homes for rel­a­tives in log cab­ins in their back gar­dens.

It’s time to ac­com­mo­date min­is­ters in gar­den sheds.

8. Builders won’t re­turn calls

You need a leak fixed, a roof re­paired, or a bath­room tiled? Don’t ex­pect any­body in the build­ing trade to re­turn your call be­fore 2022. They are busy throw­ing up of­fice blocks for some ty­coon who was once in Nama.

Ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors Ire­land, there is a short­age of plas­ter­ers, carpenters, elec­tri­cians, brick­ies and plumbers. But don’t worry, they’ll phone back in the next crash.

9. Job ap­pli­cants are ‘ghost­ing’ em­ploy­ers With un­em­ploy­ment drop­ping to 5pc, work­ers are tak­ing a cava­lier at­ti­tude to em­ploy­ers and in­dulging in be­hav­iour com­monly found in on­line dat­ing. A grow­ing num­ber of job ap­pli­cants are “ghost­ing” com­pa­nies, not show­ing up for in­ter­views or fail­ing to turn up on the first day of a new job with­out any con­tact. HR con­sul­tant Peter Cos­grove said many ap­pli­cants are now treat­ing in­ter­views as if they are in­ter­view­ing po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers rather than vice versa.

We will spend a to­tal of €4.65bn dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod – €150m more than last year

Chang­ing times: Main, chef Dy­lan McGrath. In­set above, Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar with pop star Kylie Minogue. In­set be­low, the Shel­bourne restau­rant.

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