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Dublin...the government suffers a humiliating defeat here

Outgoing Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was soundly defeated in Ireland's recent election.(Photo/Reuters)

The Fianna Fail government in Ireland appears to be well and truly dead.

Over the weekend the Irish voted in a general election, and the winners, the Fine Gael party, are calling it a "democratic revolution at the ballot box." Fine Gael is expected to create a coalition with the Labour Party -- and form the country's record largest majority.

And when there's a big winner....there's bound to be a big loser too. Fianna Fail, which has been in power in Ireland for 90 per cent of the last quarter century, came in a humiliating third place, reduced to 17 seats.

It's widely blamed for the collapse of the Irish economy -- the so-called Celtic Tiger -- the subsequent failure of the banking system, and then a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

As a reaction to all that, Irish journalist Fintan O'Toole launched a petition for political reform called "Enough is Enough," saying about the government: "they don't mind and we don't matter. Our rulers have no shame and they believe we have no voice".

He wrote about the government's role -- and that of bankers and property developers -- in the economic collapse in his 2009 book, Ship Of Fools - How Stupidity And Corruption Sank The Celtic Tiger. Rick spoke with him about it last spring.

  Listen to Rick's interview with Fintan O'Toole now

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