Shy Irish wear IMF protest on their underpants

Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:40pm EST
 
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By Lorraine Turner

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Boxer shorts and g-strings sporting the slogan: "I'd rather be screwed by the IMF" might be the top stocking filler this Christmas in Ireland as anger over a financial bailout and frustration with the government mounts.

Ireland's politicians conceded on Sunday that they would need an EU/IMF bailout after weeks of public denial, prompting a small local company to launch a new clothing and underwear range.

"It's a bit of a dig at our leaders that have led us into this mess," said Tim Kelly, co-founder of the Cork-based website Puckout.com, whose products include other logos such as "The IMF took me coat" and "What the IMF."

So far, sales of underwear have been more brisk than t-shirts, perhaps given they "fit neatly into your Christmas stocking," said Kelly.

But it is also a discreet way for people to vent their discontent and frustration, he added.

"For the first time, I suppose ever, there is a real willingness to do something, but people don't really know what to do. How do you channel it?," Kelly told Reuters.

The Irish public has quietly endured harsh cuts so far but they may finally run out of patience and take to the streets when the next round of austerity measures are unveiled, say labor unions, which are planning a demonstration on Saturday.

Social protest has also found other forms. Street art has picked up on the themes of the downturn, with a business man in a suit holding a briefcase saying "thug life" stenciled onto a wall opposite Dublin's international business zone, the IFSC.

"I'd rather trust a dealer on a badly lit street corner than a criminal in a three piece suit" is daubed across the entrance to an alleyway in the bustling Temple Bar region.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)