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Irish nation for sale on eBay reaches €10,000

As the economic crisis deepened this week, Ireland was briefly put up for sale -- and only managed to make €10,100.

"Ireland Inc" was auctioned on internet shopping site eBay, with bidding starting at just 69c.

After 26 bids, it appeared one would-be buyer was prepared to part with €10,100 for the financially-challenged nation.

But the website pulled the plug after two days when it realised the auction was a "joke" item that could not be traded. The gag will probably go down like a lead balloon in Government circles as the gap in the public finances widens.

The prankster who posted the item identified himself as "biffo2009".

He was following in the footsteps of a wag who tried to "sell" Iceland on eBay recently. That listing had a much more enthusiastic response, attracted bids up to £10m before it was removed.

Ireland Inc came illustrated by a picture of the Cliffs of Moher, was advertised as including "free shipping" and had an elaborate description, purportedly penned by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

According to the author, payment was accepted through PayPal, "or preferably cash payment in large brown envelopes".

It said: "Due to me and the Fianna Fail government having now managed to bring the entire Irish economy to a state of almost irreversible ruination, myself and the Tanaiste Mary Coughlan in communion with our Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, have now decided to take the next logical step towards economic stability and offer the title deeds of Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore (also known as Ireland or Eire), to the highest eBay bidder."

The description went on to state: "This is a once off opportunity to acquire a charming and deceptively spacious tax shelter all of your own, while also reducing your tax liability to zero at the same time, which will be paid by our two million plus PAYE gullies.

"We are looking for a genuine buyer for Ireland so that we can immediately convert this valuable gas-rich asset into desperately needed cash."

One interested party asked: "Is planning permission included? I want to concrete over everything with borrowed money I can never pay back".

Belfast Telegraph