“Market pressures are forcing Ireland to the edge of the abyss,” runs El País’ dramatic headline, as yields on 10 year Irish bonds rocketed to 9.26% on the morning of 11 November. With rumour rife that a Greek style bailout for the economically stricken country is imminent, the Spanish daily notes that this is not without consequence for its Eurozone partners. “Ireland is burning and the weakest economies of southern Europe fear that the flames will come creeping into their own territories.” While Spanish bonds hit 4.52% on November 10, Greek and Portuguese yields surged to 11.65% to 7.33% respectively. “Investors have spent several weeks criminalizing everything that smacks of European periphery,” the Spanish daily notes, adding that “to make matters worse the investment bank Goldman Sachs yesterday requested a rescue plan for Ireland and Portugal from the European Financial Stability Facility.”

Meanwhile, the front pages of Irish press are refraining from such blood curdling pronoucements. However, Irish Independent columnist Lise Hand reports that the mood in the national parliament is bleak. “'It's like the last days of the Roman Empire around here at the moment, Taoiseach,” quipped one opposition member to Irish PM Brian Cowen. “And yesterday,” writes Hand, “the Irish bonds soared to hitherto unimaginable heights and some of the uglier Masters of the Universe had the insolence to pronounce on Irish sovereign matters by proclaiming that only a general election would settle international jitters.” “Unfortunately for Caligula Cowen,” she concludes, “the impression continues to build that he is the head of a Nero Government which continues to fiddle about while the homeland burns."