Last week, I published exclusive extracts from the personal diary of Wolfgang Uppenhaus, one of the IMF’s leading representatives here in Ireland. His first day in Ireland was a whirlwind. Looking at Anglo’s accounts, being ignored by Brian Lenihan, meeting Bertie in the cupboard and seeing the Prime Minister being tired and emotional. Despite a frustrating day, Wolfgang’s Irish debut ended on a high note with a shift in Copperface Jacks.
Since then he has been hard at work hammering out a deal with Irish officials but he has still found time to see some of the rest of the country.
Friday 19th November
Today I met a most odd fellow. I had seen him earlier in the Doyle. He wears a typical Irish cap and when he meets a member of the government he holds the cap out as if he is begging. It is very peculiar. And then this afternoon he stopped me on my way back to the hotel. It was good luck for me that my translator was with me to help as I did not understand everything he said.
– ARE OO THE LAD FROM TH’IMF
– Yes, my name is Wolfgang Uppenhaus
– JYOCKIE HEELIE RAY IS MY NYAME.
– It is good to meet you Jyockie
– WELL LUT ME TELL OO WAN THING NYOW. I AM HERE TOE REPERZINT THE PEEPULL OF SOUTH KYERRY AND I WILL NYOT APPROVE WAN IOTA OF CUTS. FWAT’S MORE, I WILL BE LYOOKING FOR ANUTHER SWIMMING POOL FOR KINMARE. THOT’S FWAT I HOV BIN PROMISHED AND OTHERWISE I WILL BE VOTING AGINST THIS BUDGET.
I must admit that first I laughed at this funny man. I thought it charming that my hosts should have put on street entertainment for me during a very stressful day. But then someone told me he was a member of the parliament. I hope he does not have too much power.
Sunday 21st November
I do not have to work today and I meet my new lady friend Niam H from the rural disco in Copper Face Jacks. I think that Niam is her name. She sent it to me by text on Friday but I cannot understand why Niam would not tell me what H stands for.
Today I go with Niam to a hurling match in the country. It is some distance away from Dublin so she is driving. Her car is small. I say to her why don’t you get a Mercedes like the Cabinet Ministers but then she tells me to do something to myself that I cannot. Then she says she is “only slagging me like”. Like what? I ask but she just laughs.
I ask her if we can look at a ghost estate. She drives off the motorway and finds one quickly. It is called Avalon Heights – The Last Word In Sophisticated Living. But we can not get too close to it. There are many people outside it. They are all from newspapers and TV companies around Europe. I see my friend Klaus who works for a German newspaper. He is making a fire on the ground and holding a camera near to it.
– What are you doing Klaus?
– It is an old trick I learn from the British newspapers. When you take a photograph of a story in Ireland you must have mist and fog. But if there is no mist or fog, you can make smoke. My editor tells me “Make it look Enya”
I see some others take a photograph of a horse but they are disappointed when they can find no one with a tracksuit to stand beside it.
The hurling game is very fun. There are many people with sticks who hit each other quite often, even if the ball is not near. And this is just in the spectators. I learn lots of new Irish words like cmontafeckyabolloxwillyaledditinlong! and shurthebrotherwasthesame
Niam meets a friend of hers and I say hello. She tells Niam that I am a bit of a ride. I wonder if this is a good thing. Afterwards we go to a pub. While Niam is in the toilet, I look at her phone. I am from IMF, we like to get answers. It does not tell me what Niam’s surname is but I see my number. The name says Coppers German Lad #2. I am angry and jealous – who is Coppers German Lad #1? But I must maintain my discipline.
Niam H and I are watching X Factor. I do not believe that Wagner still is there. IMF would insist that he is to be cut as a prerequisite for any bailout. Niam tells me it does not work like that. She says it is all popularity. I say that I will never vote her off. She says I am an ‘owl eejit‘. I think I am in love.
Monday 22st November
I return to work. The negotiations are difficult today but we make progress. There is a fun moment when we talk about salary reduction. I say you must make reduction for the minimum wage and the Irish officials say that is no problem because they will spend less money for their nannies. Then I say that it would be a good idea to reduce some salary for the politicians, senior public servants, judges and people in semi-state companies. Everybody starts laughing.
– That’s a good one Wolfgang. Who says the Germans can’t make a joke? Hah!
– But I do not make a joke
They are still laughing so I pretend I was joking. At IMF no one laughs. Except when we talk about Greece.
Wednesday 24th November
The government make their four year plan. They do not talk about the IMF. I hope they don’t forget to pay us back! But today I don’t care. I am not in the office. Niam H wants me to go to Belfast for Christmas shopping. I am tired of always cutting. I want to spend.