Posted by TheYank at 9/28/2009 5:20 AM EDT

Last night someone tried to burn down the Department of Finance building, according to RTE. No mention of who might have thrown the petrol bomb into the building, but I guess we can let our imaginations run wild to the extent that we accept it's someone with a grudge against the government and not just a random act of vandalism.

That reminds me of something that crossed my mind the other day when I was walking by the Department of Finance. I stopped to take a picture of the Lisbon Treaty referendum posters and just as I snapped the picture I realized that the Minister for Finance was in my shot. He was with one other man and heading for his car parked right outside.

The Minister for Finance is the man in the dark suit jacket.

If I'd been an angry nut I could have thrown something at him or worse. A real lunatic could even have filed away the information that the parked car means the Minister will be out shortly and planned an act to do the Minister some serious harm.

Obviously, for the most part Irish politics doesn't engender that sort of passion, but these are not normal times. The economy has taken a serious beating and there are a lot of people who have lost just about everything: job, savings, car, house, credit rating, marriage, self-respect, perspective. There is a constant media barrage of blaming the government for all our ills - and they are greatly to blame - but that sort of talk can unhinge people who have lost so much, especially self-respect and perspective.

Obviously political violence is not unknown in Ireland, but I don't anticipate any group planning and carrying out violent actions against the government due to the economy. Still, I can see no reason why the government should make it easy for that lone nut to carry out a rash act of violence. At a minimum the garda driver should escort the Minister into the waiting car. What else is he there for if not to protect the man?