FF has completely lost its mandate to govern -- at least from Ireland's youth
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This afternoon's official announcement from the Irish Government that it will indeed be applying for an IMF/EU emergency rescue funding package should well and truly be the final nail in the coffin of a government which has long lost the mandate of its people to remain in power.
Without wanting to over-dramatize, there's also a real fear that the constant economic and political volatility will actually push Ireland into a state of civil unrest.
An Irish trade-unionist recently said that the upcoming Budget's expected cutbacks would be too much for the people to bear, adding that his Union, the TEEU, would consider launching a campaign of 'civil disobedience' if cuts were as bad as expected.
Meanwhile Irish students' recent march on Dublin turned violent, with allegations of police brutality now coming to the surface, although a similar gathering in Galway passed off peacefully.
Whoever you are though - student angry at the registration fee, out-of-work parent, or civil servant clinging to a job - the announcement that Ireland has applied for the Bailout funding really makes a difference.
Besides the palpable signs on Irish streets that the country is indeed in economic turmoil, such as businesses closing, the ubiquitous for-sale signs, etc , we Irish can now say that we live in a country which is literally having to be rescued by the international monetary system in much the same way as that other recessionary casualty Greece was.
A recent interview on popular daytime chat show Liveline turned inevitably to the banking crisis, and the government's almost comical denial that a bailout would be likely.
An impassioned caller said that the country's fore-bearers would literally be turning in their graves at the thought of the Republic of Ireland having to cede some of its sovereignty just to stay fiscally afloat.
The thought of Dev, the signatories of the Proclamation, and others who fought for the emergence of an Irish Free State turning in their graves is indeed a dramatic one, but it's unfortunately also increasing true. Given Ireland's colonial past, its long and bitter struggle for independence, the loss of even a fraction of that freedom should be cause for great disappointment and sadness, and any government responsible for causing that loss should be overthrown without delay.
I don't know how exactly you go about organizing a coup d'état in a Western democracy in the current day and age, but I know that unless some major political upheaval takes place soon, the Irish electorate simply won't wait until 2012 for a change of government.
As Pat Rabbitte rather pointedly told Minister Pat Carey during an incredibly heated Prime Time exchange: "you'd [the Government] want to be ashamed to show your face". I think that summarizes best how Irish people view their government now.