Despite the IMF package and a general belief that Ireland has now been saved from bank defaults, the international media continues to focus on massive internal problems in the country.
The latest theme is the deep anger felt towards banks and others who led the country into near financial ruin.
The Guardian newspaper, the most influential in Britain, in a home age article entitled ‘Irish want to punish builders, bankers and politicians’ quoted Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist at Trinity College Dublin who says the Celtic Tiger became a "Celtic Garfield," referring to the plump orange cartoon character: "Uninterested, fat and unwilling to change."
He stated banks were loathe to lend to small business because of the money to be made in property. "The attitude was, 'we can make a 10% return by building semi-detached bungalows in the middle of nowhere, so why should we invest in your company,'" he says.
Another quote form the Guardian article reflects the anger being felt.
“It's not a bailout package, it's a transfer of wealth from the ordinary worker to the banks," Colm Stephens, a university administration worker, told the paper. "We're being asked to rescue the richest people in the world – the people who gambled and lost, who bet on every horse in the race."
Meanwhile, The New York Times in an article entitled ‘In Ireland an all too familiar gloom' also interviewed some Irish leading figures who have had enough.
“The Irish feel powerless and confused and suddenly very alone in the world,” said Fintan O’Toole, the columnist for The Irish Times.
“They feel their democracy has ceased to exist.”
European authorities and IMF officials are also becoming targets,
“Nothing quite symbolized this state’s loss of sovereignty than the press conference at which the E.C.B. man spoke along with the two I.M.F. men and a European Commission official,” wrote Dan O’Brien, the economics editor of The Irish Times.
“To see foreign technocrats take over the very heart of the apparatus of this state to tell the media how the state will be run into the foreseeable future caused a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
“It was all unreal,” The Times quotes Jim Hourihane, a geographer who has written about Ireland and the European Union. “The Irish now fear they have been catapulted back into an existence they thought they had left behind.”
Sinead Pentony, of the Dublin research institute TASC, says the Irish believe that the rescue is Europe saving its own skin.
“The Irish feel all along that they have been good Europeans,” Pentony told The Times “But now Ireland is being sacrificed on the altar of the euro.”
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