In Ireland, the story is one of banks in trouble and property prices falling over a financial cliff. There is fast growing unemployment and a general air of doubt and uncertainty.
In the case of Ireland, and this means the entire island, there is the added question over what the credit and cash crisis will mean for U.S. companies.
This is particularly the case in the Republic where the attractive corporate tax rate has long acted as a persuasive reason for American firms to stay, and for new ones to set up operations with a view to gaining access to the wider European Union market.
Mixed up in all this uncertainty is the still evolving idea of a bilateral visa treaty, a concept that depends heavily on the availability of jobs in both countries.
Above and beyond this, however, the principle of easier access for Irish and American citizens is an idea that stands on its own merit. We hope, then, that the nuts and bolts of a bilateral treaty continue to unfold in the months ahead.
As the year progresses, the questions on both sides of the Atlantic will be much the same, just as the currently prevailing conditions are in so many ways mirror images of each other though, at the same time, markedly different in terms of scale.
Is this just a large-scale economic adjustment, or is it an all round collapse? Is it a depression or a recession? And if not exactly a depression, could it be what future economists will call the “Great Recession”?
No matter what the answers, they will be the same in both Ireland and the U.S. because Ireland is more than ever America writ small, the U.S. a bellwether for Ireland and so many other nations.