There have already been angry protests in Ireland as the extent of the country’s financial crisis becomes clear.
But now Brian Cowen’s government faces its first real backlash as voters head to the polls for a by-election in the north-western county of Donegal.
Yesterday’s austerity measures, including cuts to the minimum wage and thousands of job losses, are likely to seal defeat for Cowen’s Fianna Fail party, and shrink his majority to just two.
Politics aside, some say the social effects of having the worst budget deficit in Europe are beginning to be felt.
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