The Irish government has unveiled a range of tough austerity measures aimed at resolving the country’s chronic debt crisis.
Thousands of public sector jobs will be axed, there will be a cut in the minimum wage and a new property tax among other things.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen tried valiantly to make it all easier to swallow.
“I am hopeful for the future that this plan is another confidence building measure, another signpost along the road towards national recovery, a journey upon which we have been embarked since this economic and financial crisis began,” he said.
It is hoped the four-year plan will save Dublin around 15 billion euros, a precondition for a predicted 85-billion euro EU-IMF bailout.
Cowen refused to answer questions about a snap election. A vote is due at the start of next year. Instead, he urged parliament to pass the budget, including the austerity measures, on December 7.
On the streets there is anger. There have been recent protests at the government’s handling of the crisis and some say more are now inevitable.
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