Epic fail for Ireland's Fianna Fail Party due to acceptance of austerity measures to save Euro
More here: Ireland's new government on a collision course with EU - Telegraph
The cost of the EU-IMF bailout in extra taxes for an average Irish family has been estimated at over £3,900 a year. Other deeply unpopular measures include controversial reductions to the minimum wage, unprecedented cuts to public services and 90,000 jobs losses in a country where unemployment is already running at almost 14 per cent.
"When people are angry, when you've just cut their pay packets, you are not going to be top of the pops," admitted Tony Killeen, Fianna Fail's campaign director yesterday.
In Dublin, Fianna Fail won just eight per cent of the vote in an electoral decimation that called into question the future of previously unassailable politicians such as Brian Lenihan, the Irish finance minister.
"However bad people thought it would get for Fianna Fail, nobody thought it would get this bad," said Michael Marsh, professor of political politics at Trinity College Dublin. "That is highly significant."
According to exit polling carried out by the Irish RTE broadcaster, Fine Gael (FG), Ireland's main centre-right opposition, had won 36.1 per cent of the vote. Labour, traditional FG's traditional coalition partner, took 20.5 per cent, its best result ever. Fianna Fail took just 15.1 per cent share of the vote, representing a loss of 58 seats.
Sinn Fein, usually outsiders in southern Irish politics, recorded its own best result with 10.1 per cent, up almost five per cent on the last 2007 election. The vote share for Greens, FF's junior coalition partner, plummeted to 2.7 per cent, possibly robbing the party of MPs.