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Ireland

Yearbook 2006

Ireland. About 300 Protestants marched in February along O'Connell Street in Dublin, past the post office where the Easter riot against the British began in 1916. According to CountryAAH, they were met by counter-protesters, leading to the worst riots in the capital in 25 years. Among the Protestant march participants were relatives of people murdered by the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, and members of the Orange Order.

2006 Ireland

Despite I's good economy, the coalition government between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats (PD) seemed to lose support in the spring. Prime Minister Bertie Ahern also received criticism from MPs within his own party Fianna Fáil. Tensions were also strong within the PD, where it became clear that party leader and health minister Mary Harney had become increasingly difficult to come to terms with her party mate Justice Minister Michael McDowell. In September, McDowell was elected as the new PD leader and thus got the post of Deputy Prime Minister of the Government. During the fall, it was revealed that during his time as finance minister, Ahern had borrowed large sums from several businessmen in 1993-94 in connection with his separation from his wife. The loans had not been reported and the matter was sensitive as some of the lenders had been given important assignments by the Ahern government. The Prime Minister rejected all claims that it was a bribe and now repaid the loans. He later apologized for his actions. Ahern's party was shaken by a series of corruption scandals in the 1990s. For a while it looked like the government was going to crack, but after negotiations PD decided to stay in the government coalition. Although a clear majority of Irish thought Ahern had acted wrongly, his party performed strongly in opinion polls in October.

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