Karen Coleman: Helmut, Dimitri, Mary -- all shackled to the sword
Spare a thought for Helmut -- a hard-working German who is padding around his Bavarian home where he's been living for the last five years. It's 6.30am and he's quietly tip-toeing about, conscious that a slight bang of the door could wake his wife and two children. The early starts don't bother Helmut. He's been doing them since he was 16 when he started his apprenticeship as a plumber. Now that he's 40, he can enjoy the trappings of his hard-earned money with his red-brick house in a respectable neighbourhood and good schools nearby.
But Helmut isn't happy. He's upset at Angela Merkel and her stooges from the Bundesbank preaching about the need for Germans to tighten their belts and pay more taxes to bail out states like Ireland and Greece.
Helmut doesn't see why Germany needs to rescue tax-dodging Greeks and profligate Paddys. He needs to keep his money himself so that his kids can go to good schools and universities. He paid his fair share of taxes all of his life. He didn't gamble on properties. He didn't buy a holiday home abroad; in fact he usually goes camping with the children in Germany every year. He doesn't care about fiscal compacts and austerity measures. He doesn't give a damn if German banks lent to Irish banks and he certainly doesn't care if the Irish economy goes bust.