The meltdown in the Irish banking stocks after the government nationalized Anglo Irish Bank is an extraordinary feature of the economic recession in Ireland. It is causing a huge problem for the government and especially Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen, who seems to face a new crisis every day. Giants like Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank now trade for cents rather than euros, and the fear that the Irish government may have to nationalize them too is behind the market panic. In this global economy the American stock market may well decide whether the Irish banks survive. A run on Irish bank stocks was feared on Monday, but because of the Martin Luther King holiday the U.S. exchange was closed. Ireland now seems nowhere near the bottom of the dive it has sunk into. The very real question of the nationalization of the banks led one wit to note that, "I thought we borrowed money from the bank, not the other way round." It sure is an upside down world right now.

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