Govt sells national naming rights; raises vital funds for exchequer

Guinness Island launch at the Gravity Bar
The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has announced that the government has sold Ireland's naming rights to corporate drinks giant Diageo in a deal thought to be worth up to €50 million annually. At a glitzy launch event held at the Gravity Bar Mr. Gilmore revealed that the naming rights will be held by Diageo for a period not less than 30 years and that Ireland will henceforth be known as Guinness Island. 

Mr. Gilmore accepts first symbolic payment
Mr. Gilmore said that the government had received significant bids for the naming rights from other corporate interests but Diageo had offered Ireland a "satisfactory and comfortable brand image through its Guinness connotations. Not only will we earn money by selling the naming rights, we will also save money by no longer having to promote 'Ireland' as a separate brand to Guinness. The two brands will finally be completely synonymous and this can only be a good thing for Guinness Island's economy."

The new national flag
As part of the deal the Irish Guinness Island tricolour will now carry the Guinness logo and Irish passports will be black in colour with 'Ireland' being replaced by 'Guinness' on the cover. The harp will remain, due to its common prominent place in both brands. Irish sports teams will also now play in the traditional black and white colours of Guinness, with the green strip being used as an away jersey only when necessary. Arthur's Day will become an official national holiday, as will the following day - National Hangover Day.

Tommy Bowe shows off the national rugby shirt
The sale of the national naming rights is the brainchild of the Minister for Innovation Richard Bruton, who pointed to the successful rebranding of The Aviva Stadium, The O² Theatre and the Bord Gais Energy Theatre as the inspiration behind the initiative. "The people of Guinness Island have shown their willingness to accept the rebranding of national icons to the point that geographical reference is no longer necessary and rebranding the country was the next logical step in the government's plan to pay back our debt," said Mr. Bruton. 

The motion to rebrand the country was swiftly and unanimously passed in the Dáil last Tuesday evening before all TDs retired to the Dáil bar where, allegedly, all slates have been wiped clean. One Dáil wag, who declined to be named, defended the sale of the naming rights thus: "Sure we've already sold our souls to Diageo, we may as well get paid for it."

In an act of defiance against the national rebranding, Cork County Council has sold the county's naming rights to Heineken, the owner of Murphy's Stout, and will now be rebranded as The People's Republic of Murphy's. Other counties are expected to follow suit.