In the aftermath of the EU- and IMF-led €85 billion bank bailout, Ireland’s economy is in shatters, its government is a laughing stock and its people are depressed. The nationalization of the country’s biggest banks has caused huge economic and political unrest. The disenfranchised, debt-ridden population is facing a dark, cold winter as unemployment climbs to 14% and increasing numbers of international firms decide to relocate to cheaper, more stable countries. The crisis is escalating and the public is outraged. One angry protester spray-painted the word “TRATIORS” across the façade of the office of transport minister Noel Dempsey. Let’s hope education doesn’t suffer with the economic upheaval, then.
A lecturer at one of Ireland’s most prestigious universities asked his first-year Government students how they felt about the EU bailout. While the majority of pupils feared that they, and their children, would be crippled with debt for generations due to poor decisions by a handful of corrupt bankers, one student piped up that she felt quite proud of the bailout. “Why?” asked the lecturer. The student retorted, “You can always tell how good the party was by the size of the hangover.” The Irish prove yet again that hope springs eternal – from the bottom of the whiskey barrel – giving new meaning to the term “Keep your spirits up.”
If you are in Ireland or any country that is facing tough economic pressure, here is some financial advice to get you through the turbulence: