Saint Patrick's Day celebrations around the world are facing an uncertain future following today's announcement by the Irish Government that it has sold the popular saint, and his associated festival day, to Germany in a desperate bid to reduce Ireland's crippling national debt.
Saint Patrick, who has been Ireland's national saint for over 1500 years and who is believed to be the only Irish cleric in history not to have been implicated in a child sex abuse scandal, was sold at an EU auction last night for the sum of €7.3 million, according to Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
"I understand that people might be upset about this, but Saint Patrick has not exactly done a lot of good for us over the years," said the Taoiseach. "Okay, so he got rid of the snakes for us, but, quite frankly, if it was a choice between no snakes or saving the country from being repeatedly invaded and ravaged, having half the population die in a famine and then the country being left virtually bankrupt from a global financial crisis, then I, for one, would happily be arse-deep in anacondas right now."
Early reports suggest that Saint Patrick will be relaunched as a new German folk character, "Der Leprakaun Fuhrer", a vagabond who once ruled a faraway land which based its entire economy around transactions of magic beans which subsequently disappeared and left the country in economic ruin.
German Cultural Assimilation Minister, Franz Hagen, has told those who have planned Saint Patrick's Day events around the world not to worry. "Saint Patrick's Day, or Heinzellmannchanfest as it will be called from now on, will be going ahead almost as normal this year, except that it will now be used to teach the world about the importance of efficiency and economic responsibility." "Also, there will be no alcohol allowed," he added, "as alcohol has been shown to cause inefficiency and a lack of economic responsibility in the past."
Following the success of the sale, the Irish Government is rumoured to be planning to sell more of the country's national assets to further reduce its debt woes. The Netherlands have already expressed an interest in purchasing some of the Donegal mountains, in an effort to make their country less flat and prone to flooding, while North Korea is believed to be seeking to buy County Leitrim, to prove to its citizens that are actually worse places to live than North Korea. Despite extensive efforts, however, the Irish Government is reported to still be struggling to find a potential buyer for Bono, after the U2 singer failed to reach his reserve price of nearly €5 at last night's auction.