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Letter from Dublin

Ireland is having a brutal recession. But why are Dublin's middle classes punishing themselves, not their government?

Driving into Dublin from the west you pass countless new housing estates, some half-built and abandoned, others fully finished. At night just a few small lights peek out of these vast building complexes. In the city centre you recognise new office blocks by their “to let” signs, particularly around the redeveloped docks, while at 6pm riverside bars and restaurants seem empty in the evening sunshine. On George’s Street, Dublin’s equivalent of Tottenham Court Road, a boarded-up shop sign reads: “Going to hell.” A note in the window says it will be redeveloped by “Gluttony Ltd.”

Ireland might not be the…

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