I’m spending a good amount of time in Dublin. Like in the US and UK, Ireland has been hard hit by the recession. So much so, I feel the government and people are in a more difficult situation than most other countries. The only country I think to compare Ireland’s situation to is Iceland.
I’m a bit baffled by the comparison, because Ireland falls into the EU and Iceland does not. Considering there are EU countries on the continent that still have strong government and fiscal stability, it seems appropriate for them to help the less fortunate ones (I spread the wealth and pain). I guess I look at the EU as being similar to the state to state relationship in the US, but it is clearly not.
Nevertheless on my return from Ireland last week, the Irish government announced an emergency budget. I was at a bar in the airport when the budget was announced. From listening to the folks around me, they were quite displeased. Some expected a harsh approach, but most feel the government is just shouldering the bad decisions on the tax payers and squeezing them out of more money. I would not be surprised if much of the population leave Ireland for other parts of the EU (a reverse of what happened over the last seven years).