The tiger rolled over and died

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The FT has reported of yesterday's action on the Irish stock exchange

Anglo Irish Bank, the specialist property lender, plunged 45 per cent, while Irish Life & Permanent, the bancassurer and the republic's largest mortgage provider, fell 34 per cent.

Allied Irish Banks weakened nearly 16 per cent and Bank of Ireland lost 15 per cent.

"Everyone has been spooked . . . investors have turned their guns on the next country which is seen to have issues to deal with and that is Ireland," said Eamonn Hughes, banks analyst with Goodbody stockbrokers.

Ireland was once dubbed the Celtic tiger economy and a model for the accession states of the European Union. However, with its construction and property markets stalling, last week it became the first country among the 15 members of the euro single currency to declare it was officially in recession.

The tiger is dead.

But then, it was only a myth.

And an unbelievable one at that.