We have had rorts for years, and tribunals by the dozen. But the deer-in-the-headlamps baffled incompetence of the politicians in the current crisis, that's new, and it's scaring people.
Drivetime had financial journalists Cliff Taylor of the Sunday Business Post, Emmet Oliver of the Irish Independent and Brian Lucey of Trinity College talking about the black hole in the banks. They had a fine line in invective. One described a once-wealthy bank as "the best-looking horse in the glue factory".
Presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes picked up on Twitter's current caitheamh aimsire -- working out what you could buy for the €24.35bn we are expected to donate to Anglo Irish Bank. Someone suggested building a tunnel to Wales. Cliff Taylor said you could build four or five Metro lines, even at Irish prices.
You could buy every man, woman and child in the country a Flake a day for eight years, the experts suggested; pay the academic salaries of TCD and UCD for 100 years, abolish VAT and income tax for a year.
And with some of the left-over, buy every TD a Boeing Dreamliner with pilot and fuel -- ideal for trips to Glenties.
> TOM DUNNE was upset to hear that those stingy so-and-sos who won't pay for their round are actually genetically predisposed to keeping their hands in their pockets.
Not in west Cork. Journalist Pat Fitzpatrick told Tom how to do it. You don't ask who paid for a round at all at all there. You just raise the pint that's materialised in front of you, and say: "Fair play who shtood."
When it's your turn, you don't say "What are you having?" or anything so crass. You just wave a hand at the glass in front of someone and say: "What's that?" Then you go to the bar and order, and the pints rematerialise, no credit asked or given. Fair play, boy.
> ON Liveline, people are simmering, unheard by the Government. Caller Chris seethed over the new billions being plunged into Anglo. "Now Anglo and Bank of Ireland turn around and they have no problem paying for gyms and associated expenses or perks for their staff."
Chris sounded gobsmacked. "We Irish are not really good at facing reality. At least the Irish in positions associated with banking or politics. Which part of 'broke' or 'bankrupt' do they not understand? Which part of cutting expenses, paring back to the bone, which the rest of us have to do, do they not understand? And how can we make them understand?"
Like parents of a spoilt teenager, the radio listeners of Ireland are scolding and scolding. And the politicians, the bankers and the other wealthy listen as much as any teenager does.
"A subsidised Dail bar -- as far as I know, we're the only parliament with a bar in Europe!"
Then George came on. This was scary. He's a plumber. When he went to the builder's merchants for supplies he got a shock.
"They're not taking cheques beyond €250," he said. "That's a bad, bad sign for our banks. We live in a capitalist society, and when you start to cut the supply of money, I'm afraid the whole place here is simply going down the tubes."
They won't even take bank drafts, he said. The country is in a total, utter meltdown.
Drivetime, RTE 1, weekdays Tom Dunne, Newstalk, weekdays Liveline, RTE 1, weekdays