Was asked to repost this.
Seventeen days after the ATMs had stopped working, the first German troops arrived. The collapse of the Irish government had been met with a declaration of martial law, but it was the sudden realisation that there was no money left, in the banks or in people’s accounts, that caused the rioting. When the banks ran out of the cash to satisfy withdrawals, and tried to shut despite the queues outside, the rioting started. The Gardai were quickly overwhelmed. The PDF were deployed onto the streets, where, taunted by stone-throwing and petrol-bombing youths, they gave the Taoiseach an ultimatum: Either we can defend ourselves, or we return to barracks. The first youths were shot dead in Tallaght later that day.
The fact that the army and police had families too, going hungry when the supermarkets closed, caused discipline to lessen the longer the crisis went on. Soldiers and Gardai were staying with their families to protect them. Some were even using their weapons to get food.
The US embassy evacuated its citizens by helicopter from the ambassador’s residence in the Phoenix Park. US Marines fired warning shots to keep Irish citizens at bay.
Chancellor Merkel flew to Paris, where the British PM joined them. The decision was made. British troops could not go in, for historical reasons. France and Germany would do it.
The Taoiseach agreed. He had no choice. The fire that had destroyed RTE, gracing the public with images of Pat Kenny carrying colleagues out of the inferno over his shoulders, meant that he had to inform the country on BBC Northern Ireland. The troops arrived later that day, landing in Dublin Airport and Dublin and Cork ports. They moved quickly, restoring order and distributing food parcels.
Merkel arrived in Dublin later that week, landing by helicopter in Merrion Square and escorted by heavily armed GSG9 counter terrorist police. She chaired a meeting of the government, the opposition, trades and business unions, and told them the plan. The EU was going to take over the temporary running of Ireland. A loan would be made available, but would be run by German officials. She then presented them with a budget, outlining a new, simplified single payment welfare system, new pay rates in the public sector, and new, higher tax rates. There was uproar.
The man from IBEC said that the proposed corporate tax rates would not wash. The man from ICTU said that whilst his members would of course be willing to engage in wide-ranging discussions these would have to be within the agreed social-partnership structure and within the contexts of the agreed protocols. Chancellor Merkel smiled thinly, apologised for her English, and then clarified her position. This was not a negotiation. This was the deal. Yes or no. She then left them to discuss the matter amongst themselves, with one proviso: Agreement must be 100%, by all, and by midnight. Failing that, she would order the EU forces out of Ireland, and Ireland could solve her own problems.
At five to midnight, after seven hours of shouting and phonecalls to their respective organisations, and at least two punch-ups, and a pizza delivery (The German embassy official allowed them only two toppings each. There was an economic crisis on) they agreed.
The country accepted the deal in shoulder shrugging silence. Public sector officials looked at their now more modest paycheques, as did social welfare recipients, in disbelief. But the streets were quiet, the French and German army patrols reassuring, and the supermarkets reopened. A curious tone settled on the country, whereas there was bitterness about the imposed settlment, but not enough to do anything about it. In pubs, people griped about poor little Ireland once more being under someone’s jackboot, although someone invariably added a “thank God for that”. Sinn Fein arranged a demonstration against German colonisation, but when the German ambassador offered to take back money from any Irishman offended to be receiving German handouts, he reported that the embassy had received a total of €47 returned.
When German federal police investigators started arresting bankers, the news was cheered in pubs, and French and German policemen in pubs stunned to find drinks being bought for them.
Then Corporal Heinz Walther, a young Bavarian member of the Bundeswehr, was killed by a sniper whilst on patrol on O’Connell Street.
A group calling itself IRA Reborn issued a statement claiming the murder, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the EU from Ireland.
Chancellor Merkel flew immediately to Dublin, and addressed the Irish nation that night, an Irish and EU flag behind her. Her message was simple. The EU was not here to occupy Ireland, but to restore order. But that must be with the consent of the Irish people. So it was their choice. If the murderer of Heinz Walther was not handed over to the authorities within seven days, the EU would withdraw.
The reaction was swift. A rally for IRA Reborn outside the GPO had to seek protection from German soldiers after a mob of Irish people attacked them. In Dublin and Cork, queues waited for hours to sign a book of condolence. The German embassy was swamped with flowers, and the young soldier’s mother openly thanked the Irish people for their response. Then, fours days after the murder, a bound and gagged man was dumped outside Pearse St Garda Station, accompanied by a rifle which matched the one used in the killing.
A graffito on a wall in inner city Dublin summed up the situation. It read “Krauts out! Eventually!”