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Editorial: Let us hope this is the beginning of the end

The full extent of the cost of the banks' bailout saga finally emerged today. At last, the bottom line is known. The absolute worst case scenario figure for Anglo is €34bn.

The bill being presented to the ordinary taxpayers of Ireland is a staggering one. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan today used the word "horrendous" to describe the figures.

But the terrible uncertainty is over. No longer can fear of the unknown be seen to cloud efforts to chart a clear course to economic recovery.

The anger felt by the nation is justifiable. Ordinary taxpayers who never stood to benefit from the 'greed is good' actions of bankers and speculators are being left to shoulder the burden.

But today the boil has been lanced.

The size of the problem has now revealed. It is far better than stumbling from one estimate to the next. Actions to sort out this frustrating conundrum can start afresh. As the nation braces itself for further tough measures that will be needed in the coming years, there will be an expectation that the actions of those who contributed significantly to our economic woes will not escape censure.

Reckless actions must be seen to have consequences for the individuals involved.

Further sacrifices will have to be made by everyone. People are willing to undertake what is necessary but patriotism cannot be taken for granted as all measures must be seen to be fair.

The time has come now to look to the future with confidence. The Irish have shown we can forge an economic miracle. We can succeed in the challenges ahead.