Editorial: We have to get through this misery together

Now that we know the extent of the €15bn austerity plan which will roll out over the next four years, it is no less a bitter pill to swallow.

Where was the political leadership from the likes of Bertie Ahern or Brian Cowen during the booming years of the Celtic Tiger?

We were walked into this crisis with the help of the bankers and property developers -- and the Government -- who raked in billions of euro in profits at its height.

As ever, it is the ordinary citizen who must pick up the tab through increased taxes and cutbacks whose impact will be felt by everybody.

The bankers, regulators and builders who presided over this catastrophe won't feel the pain. They retired on huge pensions and can forget their blame on the golf course.

Yet we must get through it, pick ourselves up and look hopefully towards better days in the future for the sake of our children.

We have struggled through tough times before and must pull together to shrug off the monetary millstone which hangs around our necks.

We live in a democracy and citizens are fully entitled to demonstrate their feelings in a peaceful way in Saturday's major protest march in Dublin.

There is a danger it might be hijacked by fringe elements intent on their own interests and it would be a shame if ordinary people felt unable to take part because of that threat.

We will have a new government in the new year -- let's hope it shows more leadership attributes than the wasters who have landed us in their mess.