Ireland Callingby John Spain
- "Greed is good", especially in Ireland it seems with pillars of society on the take
- Vintage pamphlets offer a glimpse at the rules of 50s-era Irish Catholicism
- A leap of faith by Ireland, the exit from the IMF/EU bailout
- A temporary detour from ecomic issues to Irish soccer madness
- Give Britain a break after decades of Irish emigration to the UK
But it particularly shouldn't happen to this man, who happens to be Taoiseach, (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen, who said the assault on his character marked a new low in Irish politics. He could also have said that it marked a new low in Irish life, in our belief in fairness and justice.
It will probably mean the end of his career. It is a frightening lesson in how an honorable man's reputation can be dragged into the gutter by the Internet, the media and a section of the public in today's anger-filled Ireland.
First it was The New York Times two weekends back with its alarmist headline posing the question – “Can One Bank Bring Down a Country?”
The bank they were talking about, of course, was Anglo Irish, and the country was Ireland.
But before we get to that (and the two things are related), a word about the hit to Ireland's international financial standing just over a week ago.
You probably read about this. The influential agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Ireland's rating from AA to AA minus, three levels below countries such as Britain, Germany and the U.S. The agency also put us on "negative outlook,” which is agency-speak meaning they think further downgrades are possible.