It's nice to know so many people actually read the blog! There have been tons of emails complaining about the shortage of postings over the past few weeks. They don't call August the "silly season" for nothing you know!
Anyway, I was in Ireland for a few weeks and the outlook is pretty grim there (and that's not including the incessant rain). The father of a friend of mine had to deplete his savings to pay for an operation in a private hospital. He's 89 and he was looking at a 12-month waiting list for a public bed. Doesn't matter that he's worked in Ireland his whole life and paid hundreds of thousands of euro in taxes. Back to the end of the line for him.
Jobs-wise, the bottom has fallen out of the market. People are being asked to take pay cuts, raises have been frozen, interest rates are going up, and they're even talking about bringing back college fees. You know things are bad when they go after the easy targets.