Ireland no longer has 40 shades of green

(ACPA-Galway) Ireland woke in shock today to learn that the Emerald Isle no longer has 40 shades of green. The devastating news, announced by national radio broadcaster RTE, shakes a nation already struggling to cope with economic devastation. The discovery came on the heels of a national shade-count, initiated after hundreds of complaints from tourists and locals.

by the awesome photographer jon sullivan at "Ah like, you know, somethin just didn't look right," said Joe Bannon, a dairy farmer in Tipperary and one of those whose complaint with the National Department of Shamrock Affairs led to the survey. "Every time I looked across the fields they just started to all look the same," said Bannon.

"Oh he's absolutely right," agreed Mary Heaney a school teacher in a County Cavan primary school, "even the kids in my nature class could see that the greens were all starting to blend together."

Shamrock Shock

Speaking on the popular "Morning Ireland" radio show, RTE's former environmental correspondent Paul Cunningham told a despondent nation that the number of shades had dropped to 37 and "will no doubt decrease further before stabilizing in the low thirties or high twenties." A scared and dazed people were left asking: "how did it all go so wrong so fast?"

The tourism sector was hit immediately with cancellations from all over the world but particularly from high spending Americans who come for special coach tours, designed to showcase each of the 40 shades. "37 shades is just not the same," said one man from Boston. But Colleen Hanrahan, a third generation Irish American from the Bronx, said she still planned to visit but expects, "a large discount to make up for the missing shades."

by the awesome photographer jon sullivan at The Irish Government announced the creation of a scientific task force composed of recently laid-off engineers to look into the issue. "It's like having a pothole in the road, once you look into it, things gets better," said one official optimistically. The Government also announced that despite the calamity, none of the public servants from the Shamrock Department will be laid off. "We never lay off public servants," a spokesman reassured RTE.

The government's intervention could not have been timelier with Ireland struggling to maintain competitiveness against fierce International competition. Malaysia shattered its previous record of 33 shades of green with a score of 39 shades at the end of this year's rainy season. However, the real threat is New Zealand. They may take the crown next year if there is truth in the rumor that it is secretly creating 3 new shades to add to its current tally of 38.

Dubliners, already struggling to cope with the stench of the rotting Celtic Tiger, seemed to take the latest setback in their stride. One Northsider, wearing a recently resurrected track suit - the national costume of recessions past - eloquently noted, "ah shur Jaysus I don't care as long as my tracksuit is shiny, it's only the culchies who go on about that 40 shades bollocks."

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