Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar sounded an awful lot like Mother Malachy when she found that a bunch of us sixth formers were spending the hour before Latin class in a nearby pub. “You’ve brought shame on the convent and your parents,” she growled, ignoring protestations that we were only drinking coffee.

Varadkar said the hundreds of rioters who trashed central Dublin recently had “brought shame on Ireland”. Perhaps 823 years of colonisation makes you obsess a bit about what outsiders think. The Irish government wants the world — well, mainly the Brussels and Washington crowd — to continue to buy into the notion that Ireland is “a grand little” country. Sure, didn’t they take on a crippling amount of debt in 2010 instead of going down the default route, which would have knocked over a few of the big German banks? And aren’t they dealing well with the surge in immigration and the cost-of-living crisis?..

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