Irish economist says Ireland is not second Greece

12:33, November 21, 2010      

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A woman walks past the Bank of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 20, 2010. Talks are underway in Dublin between the Irish government and delegations from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank on a possible tens of billions of euros aid package for the debt-stricken country. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

Ireland does not face a similar crisis like Greece although the Irish debt crisis cast a shadow over the eurozone in six months, Irish economist Cathal Brugha said on Saturday.

As yields on Irish 10-year bonds have reached 9 percent, the highest level since the euro came into being in 1990, there are deep worries that Ireland may follow the suit of Greece and another round of sovereign debt crisis may be looming, dragging in other eurozone countries such as Spain and Portugal.

Brugha, professor of University College of Dublin (UCD) School of Business, told Xinhua that compared with Greece, Ireland has one of Europe's strongest export sectors. And Greece is very much dependent on tourism and shipping whereas Ireland has a vibrant hi- tech service focused economy.

Brugha said: "When cut-backs were necessary because of difficulties in the size of the public sector that was not supported by taxation revenue this led to public political unrest in Greece, but not in Ireland."

He also called for greater reform in the public sector in Greece and other Mediterranean countries, saying that for instance, the retirement age in Ireland is 65, but typically as low as 55 in some of the other countries.

On the cause of such crisis in the eurozone, Brugha said with the formation of the European Union (EU), European countries pooled their sovereignty and their currencies, but they did not coordinated their economic, monetary and fiscal policies. This led to "holes in the European wall."

In order to defend its currency and the economic stability of its members, the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) has created a safety net totaling 750 billion euros to help eurozone countries if debt problems become acute.

As talks between Dublin and the EU, the European Central Bank ( ECB) and the IMF are continuing, Brugha said normally the IMF goes into a country where the government is not managing its finance properly.

In Ireland's case, the commitment to an adjustment of 6 billion euros in the December budget is more than enough. So the purpose of the IMF being in Ireland is to demonstrate that the country is on the right track and then give confidence to the bond market, he said, adding that "it is a short-term stabilizing measure."

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:叶欣)

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