“We do not want foreigners in here.”

The Irish Times’ Miriam Lord spotted this outburst by Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East, Edward ‘Ned’ O’Keeffe, during the Dáil debate on the banking system on Tuesday – the same day that the Irish Financial Regulator, Chief Exexcutive Matthew Elderfield, took High Court action against Quinn Insurance. From the Dáil record

Deputy Edward O’Keeffe: Why should AIB be told to sell its assets in the next 30 days? It should be given space to sell its assets and they will get more on the market. If the world economy is on the up – which it is – the bank will make substantial money on those assets. AIB may then become the free bank in our society and may not be dependent on the State and Mr. Elderfield telling us what to do. We do not want foreigners in here. Michael Collins, Liam Lynch, Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, would not have those foreigners running our business. It is about time we looked after our Irish people who are well educated.

And, in a similar vein, the Irish Independent reports the director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan’s reaction to critics of his acceptance of an honoray OBE. From the Irish Independent report

Mr Colgan, whose current production ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ has also sparked controversy due to scenes of full frontal nudity, said that when he received a previous honour, the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government, “no one wrote to the papers about it”.

Some indignant critics have said Mr Colgan should surrender his Irish passport given his decision to accept the honour.

“These (honours) are not to be taken literally. They are gifts. When an outside state says to me and my theatre, “well done for what you have done for Harold Pinter and cultural relations between our two islands”, I think it’s bad manners to say you don’t want it,” Mr Colgan said.

Announcing the awarding of the OBE, British ambassador Julian King said: “Michael has made an exceptional contribution to cultural relations in the arts between the UK and Ireland.”

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