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Ireland won't be cowed as EU seeks a guinea pig

One can't fail to be just a little impressed by the stubbornness with which the Irish have resisted the efforts of their eurozone partners to force them to ask for a bailout they do not want and believe they do not need.

But what's even more impressive is that in public at least, Ireland's leaders have managed to keep their temper. It wasn't an Irish politician who triggered this crisis, but Angela Merkel, with her ill-judged attempt to appease those in her own country who believe they are being asked to underwrite the debts of less fiscally responsible members of the eurozone.

By announcing that she intended to persuade other EU members to adopt a new framework for responding to financial crises in the eurozone, the German Chancellor triggered a market panic.

Ireland found itself in the firing line, despite there having been no material change in its circumstances.

No-one in Brussels, or elsewhere in Europe, disputes the Irish argument that they have funds in place to keep them going until the middle of next year. No, Ireland is being asked to take one for the team, to help shore up confidence in the rest of the eurozone.

It gets worse. Many in the market now suspect that Ireland is actually being used as a guinea-pig.

Either way, one of the more remarkable features of this crisis is that the Irish have yet to come out swinging.