Corporate and Banking bail outs are hardly a new thing to the Irish people. Before the Celtic tiger was born Irish citizens subsidized industry, farming and civil service jobs for the boys. An example of some of the subsidies are in the form of equipment, plant, low taxes and even cheap electricity for corporations. All in an effort to make Ireland competitive. It worked. The only way for the average guy in Ireland to get a piece of the pie was to start a business or buy a home or several homes. In other words speculate.
During the Celtic Tiger the Government was for the first time in decades running a positive balance and instead of giving back the people what it owed them they simply expanded government and social benefits. They expanded social benefits so much so that Ireland became the go to destination for indigents all over the world. Come to Ireland and get a free apartment, cell phone, money for kids that are living in another country. The list was endless. People who were genuine refugees were always welcome in Ireland and no one ever had a problem with it. But the numbers were in the hundreds per year. Suddenly the doors were thrown open and people were just flooding the system by the thousands. The government was renting hotels all over the country to house people. Even before the banks blew up there was trouble brewing in the govt balance sheet.
The banks looking to get a piece of the pie did what they do best either fudge their customers accounts to steal from them with bogus little surcharges or speculate in the markets they knew best and that was housing. They did both.
Inevitably it blew up. The government decided it was in the best interests of the country to bail out the banks because if they didn't then no one would lend the govt money. The notion was everyone tighten their belts and this will blow over soon. Except the banking problem just kept getting bigger and bigger. It is now at the point where the money cannot be repaid.
There is nothing left except to keep finding new and inventive ways to tax the population.
The latest slap in the face for the fiscally conservative saver in Ireland is they are now going to be taxed on their pensions. This is just after pension benefits were cut.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. In this case the government workers are not going to have to put up with it.
Nice knowing you Ireland.
Edit: One last thing. (AD 2008) Approximately 70% of all Irish mortgages are classified as variable. Think about that for a second. Even the threat of Debtors prison won't be enough to stop the loans going belly up. When they blow up who will be holding the bag? The Banks? No as the govt promised to keep them afloat. The taxpayer? No because if the draconian 1850's legislation is not removed from the books then the people will have no choice but to leave. Even if it's removed from the books people are still broke. Eventually this domino will fall.
Edit: Well that didn't take long. http://www.zerohedge.com/article/treasury-confirms-debt-ceiling-be-breached-today-will-tap-pension-funds