Catholic bishops in Ireland have warned that violence could erupt in the country if the wounds generated by the economic crisis are allowed to fester.

They criticise the 'bonus culture' of recent decades and the inequality and damage to social cohesion that it has caused.

In a document launched in the Dublin today called ‘From Crisis to Hope: Working to Achieve the Common Good’, the bishops comment that the very public nature of the distress caused by the economic crash may prompt a challenge the dominant culture of individualism and consumerism.

They say that the Labour movement and Christian Democracy had provided an important counterbalance to the excesses of capitalism around the world, but that in the past 30 years it has become increasingly difficult to mount such a challenge.