DUBLIN - As if the economic woes that public servant friends tell me has led to them taking 19pc effective salary cuts in the past year were not enough, Ireland is gripped by three sordid sex-related scandals this weekend. The fallout from the report into the Dublin Catholic archdiocese's failure to deal properly with its paedophile priests claimed the scalp of the Bishop Murray of Limerick, a fomer Dublin bishop, this week and looks set to bring down several more bishops in the coming weeks, as the Church's position is only saved by the hard-headed realism of the capital's current archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
But, if anything., the scandal is being overshadowed this weekend by reports that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams's brother, also a party activist, allegedly raped his own daughter, and is on the run from the police, giving the Republican chief a mighty headache and questions to answer over what he knew.
Then the small Kerry town of Listowel, home of the late great satirist John B Keane, has come to represent a small-mindedness that the Celtic Tiger was supposed to have changed after a local sex-attacker with good connections gained a strong visible show of support this week from townspeople and a local priest (since forced to resign) after he was sentenced, while his badly beaten victim was shunned for her impertinence in bringing charges.
As the country tries to enjoy Christmas - despite the ludicrous cost of living leading to a boom in border town stores - Irish people are wondering can things be any worse in 2010?
This post has been picked up by Iain Dale.