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A friend of mine had this published in Saturday's Irish Times. It offers her response to Thursday’s announcement of the possible €50 billion bill for bank bailouts...


IT DIDN’T LOOK like a Black Thursday. September 30th in Dublin was a lovely mild day, blue skies with a smattering of white clouds. No breeze and just the slightest hint of autumn in the air. A day to be glad you were alive. A day when the earth was trying her best to distract us with her beauty and her benign nature.

On Twitter others noticed the beauty of this day, too. Mark Little (@marklittlenews) posted a beautiful photo of the early-morning city. There was a softness to the day that belied what the news was about to bring us. As Morning Ireland came on air, Twitter began “discussing” the current state of affairs.

There was a building sense of seriousness. The jokey tone of a couple of weeks ago was gone. The main feeling was one of disbelief. I continued to scroll, reading each comment. In 140 characters there is nowhere to hide. No room for flowery language. Twitter tells it like it is.

I phoned my husband, who was already out chasing up work, and told him not to turn on the news. Tune your radio to Nova and listen to rock music all day, I commanded. As a self-employed sole trader he has more than enough on his plate wondering about paying next month’s mortgage. He didn’t need to know about another harsh budget in December. Not today anyway.

As I hung up the phone, I began to get angry. I am a housewife and part-time writer. I have no degree in economics or politics. I don’t understand bond markets. But I am not stupid. I run a home, write, support my husband’s business and raise our children. I am a citizen of this country and my opinion counts. And I am angry.

I am angry that the Government which presided over the Celtic Tiger (some would have us believe they actually created it) and allowed the property market to run amok over a number of years is still in office.

I am angry that we are two years into this banking crisis and, despite all the rhetoric, things just continue to get worse.

I am angry because I feel we have been misled by our Government on Anglo Irish Bank.

I am angry because there are still fat-cat bankers, the very ones who contributed hugely to this mess, who are still fat cats. There has been no accountability.

I am angry because our Taoiseach, at such a critical time, saw fit to go on the piss a few weeks ago. I am angry that he then thought it acceptable to address the nation on the economy after very little sleep, with seemingly little preparation and clearly hungover.

I am angry that there seems to be no credible opposition to this lame Government.

I am angry that the politicians continually put their own egos and quest for power before what’s best for our country.

I am angry that we are being told there will be major cuts in the next Budget. I can tell you that this family, like many others, has nothing left to give. The past two years have eroded any savings we had for our children’s education. We have cut all that can be cut in our own budget, and every week it is a struggle to pay the bills.

I am angry that I have to watch my husband run himself ragged as he tries to earn enough each month to keep our boat afloat.

But most of all I am angry because I know I am not alone. I am one of thousands of women all over Ireland in the same situation.

I love this country. I think Irish people are articulate, creative, compassionate and brave. I do not understand how we have so few politicians who reflect these attributes.

I call on every TD in Dáil Éireann, from all parties and none, to set aside their political differences and come up with a cross-party strategy to deal with the financial mess. I am clinging to the hope that we have the brains, creativity and energy to begin the process of fixing our banks and our economy.

In extraordinary times, extraordinary measures are called for. I challenge our politicians to take such extraordinary steps as are now necessary.

History will not forgive them if they don’t. And neither will I.

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