16 Mar. 2008

Slainte!

Fancy a pint of Guinness?
Household debt in Ireland has reached 190 percent of disposable income, the highest in the developed world, and the Irish banking system is suffering such acute strains from the downturn in the housing market that it may have to nationalize its banks.
Original UK Telegraph report here.

And if you fancy a trip to the Emerald Island, you might want to go now, before it all turns brown:
Among other findings, the report said:

* Potatoes, the quintessential staple of Irish agriculture, might cease to be a commercial crop under the stress of prolonged summer droughts.

* Dried grasses in summer and autumn would change hillsides from green to brown.

* Pastures could be saturated until late spring, making it impossible for livestock to graze; instead, farmers would plant row crops to grow animal feed, a change in the look of Ireland.

* Reduced summer rains would hurt inland fisheries for salmon and sea trout.

* Bog bursts, caused when summer heat lifts peat bogs off the bedrock on hillsides and sends the bogs sliding down the slope, would be more frequent.
In other news, the Irish police have just arrested 11 men, including BBC journalists, as part of a probe into paramilitary activity. That should be interesting...