For a decade the country rode a seemingly never-ending boom, fuelling prosperity that previous generations could scarcely have dreamed of. On Thursday, reality kicked in. The 12 men and women from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in suits and sensible coats, arrived in Dublin to clear up the mess.
By any measure it was an extraordinary day for Ireland. Historian Diarmuid Ferriter described it as devastating and a “humiliating milestone” that the nation’s sovereignty was being compromised barely 100 years after hard-fought independence.
A leader in the Irish Times talked of ignominy. “There is the shame of it all,” it said. “Having obtained our political independence from Britain to be masters of our own affairs, we have now surrendered our sovereignty to the European commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF.”
But Out on the streets of Dublin, there were mixed feelings about Ireland losing its sovereignty, but there was also support for the IMF — a reflection of the widespread lack of confidence in the government.