The hole in Ireland's banks is £21bn
Could the Irish banking system, where a single nationalised bank, Anglo Irish, has just announced losses of £16bn (18bn euros), equivalent to well over a third of all revenues received by the Irish government, be any more bust (and thanks to the journalist Fintan O'Toole for that comparator)?
The Central Bank of Ireland has announced that total losses of four other banks - Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland, Irish Life and Permanent, and EBS - are expected to be £18bn (20bn euros) over the coming three years, on the basis of what is expected to happen to the struggling Irish economy over that period.
And if the Irish economy performs worse than expected, then the losses on what the regulators call this "stressed" basis will be £25bn (28bn euros).
The banks are also being forced to shrink to a size that poses less risk to the Irish economy. They've been instructed to reduce the net loans on their balance sheets by £63bn (71bn euros) by the end of 2013 - or by an amount equivalent to around half the value of the Irish economy.
And this process, known as deleveraging, is expected to generate another £11bn (12bn euros) of losses for the quartet of Irish banks, as certain loans and assets are bound to be sold or unwound for less than their face value.
The painful consequence is that there is a shortage of capital - the shock-absorber to protect depositors from losses - of £21bn in these banks. This capital shortfall consists of money to cover the expected losses and further rainy funds designed to be a buffer just in case things get even worse.
That is a colossal sum for them to find. And remember that £41bn of taxpayers' money has already gone into Ireland's banks.
So in total Ireland's banks will have been required to raise capital of £62bn at the end of this process, equivalent to more than half its annual output.
When it comes to projected losses, worst hit of the four would be Allied Irish Banks with between £8bn and £11bn of losses between 2011-13.
The cause of these losses? Well it's the continued weakness of the Irish economy. So Black Rock, which assessed likely losses at banks on behalf of the Irish Central, expects substantial pain for banks on their residential mortgages and also on loans to companies, small businesses, consumers and commercial real estate developers.
When it comes to the housing market, latest figures, for the end of 2010, showed that 5.7% of all mortgage accounts were in arrears by more than 90 days, which represents a rise since 2009 of 56% in the number of borrowers finding it impossible to keep up the payments.
No surprise really. Unemployment in Ireland has been rising and stands at 14.7%. Wages have been under pressure, and the price of houses has been falling for four years.
If anything, the surprise is that regulators have not until now forced Irish banks to recognise their potential losses on lending to home-buyers.
The hope for the Irish government is that in owning up to the full extent of the hole in its banks, it will begin to rebuild the confidence of those who lend to the financial sector and to the state.
There are questions about why it has taken so long for the regulators and the banks to recognise the full exent of losses faced by the banks on loans to homeowners and businesses - given that the housing market and economy have been in trouble for some time.
But there is no possibility of recovery until all the horrors have been disclosed.
And what horrors they are. By the time taxpayers have injected new capital into the banks as a shock-absorber against the problems that lie ahead, they will have invested a sum equivalent to more than half the value of the Irish economy.
Where from here?
Well it is by no means the end of Ireland's woes. Its banks, even when wholly or partly nationalised, are still on a drip of loans from the European Central Bank - which is not sustainable.
And the new Irish government fears that the interest rate it is paying on 67.5bn euros of rescue loans from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund is too high - and threatens to undermine its ability to recover.
Mending the banks is only the beginning of Ireland's economic and financial rehabilitation.
The other issue raised by the elongated, episodic and - some would say - belated disclosure of the woes of Ireland’s banks, is what it says about horrors that may lurk elsewhere in the eurozone.
Those, for example, who fear that Spain’s banks haven’t yet been forced to disclose the full extent of the losses they face on their exposure to the burst residential and commercial property bubble will not be reassured by events in Ireland today.