In the words of John Mallon, Forest's representative in Ireland, "The fat man has announced the election date - 11th March 2011".
Yes, following weeks of speculation, Irish prime minister Brian Cowen has announced that the country will go to the polls in seven weeks. With the country in financial meltdown a great many political heads are expected to roll.
"To give you the majority feeling on the ground, we have had this government, give or take, for the last 13 years. When they got in the economy was booming, inflation was very low, we had the Irish pound, jobs were becoming plentiful, U2 were on top of the world, Riverdance was just around the corner, Ireland was cool, Michael O'Leary was offering to fly us anywhere for 10p, Munster rugby was taking off, the popular Polish Pope was still there, as was our nodding President, Mary Robinson. Ireland was in the throes of its first Industrial Revolution based on big American IT and Big Pharma, and Temple Bar was getting into full swing. For a small country that never had a toe on the world stage, there was a real feelgood factor.
"Everything that has happened has deconstructed the lot. You have no idea of the desperation and anger that is rampant now. Everything Fianna Fail has done in the last 13 years now stinks, including the smoking ban ...
STOP PRESS (14:08): The BBC reports that Irish PM Brian Cowen is stepping down as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail party "but will continue to run the government until the general election". Ironically Cowen is a smoker and a leading contender to replace him would be Michael Martin, the man whose greatest political achievement is said to be the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland.