The Ireland thing: I promise I didn't lift it from Father Ted. However, a brief search through the Internet reveals nothing apart from references to reports that RTE wanted the rules changed so that all the countries shared in the staging costs rather than the winner having to bear all the burden, which might be seen as evidence that they were struggling a little. Mind you, I also found several messages from Irish USENET posters complaining that RTE was using the contest as an excuse to get more funding from the Government. So, er, yes, "throwing" it was a bit strong: "extremely pleased to lose" probably describes it better.
This has been a Bank Holiday Corrections Update.