Today's figures from the banking stress tests may be shocking but at least they give us a point from which to start our recovery.
No matter how appalling the debt, it is far better to know exactly where we stand so we can turn our energies to finding strategies to deal with the problem.
Someone managing a household budget cannot plan their spending until they know the cost of a large repair job.
The same principle holds good for the country. Not knowing the full value of the debt paralyses all spending.
We cannot map out our future until we know the absolute truth about what the banks owe.
Hopefully we now have the final picture on the banks and today's assessment of the debt is an honest one that the Irish people can have confidence in and use as a base to plan our way out of the current mess.