Ireland faces continued financial, political turmoil

08:03, November 25, 2010      

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The Irish government was poised on Wednesday to announce details of a 15-billion-euro (about 20 billion U.S. dollars) plan to stabilize the country from financial turmoil that has thrown the European nation into crisis.

The four-year budget plan that Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's coalition government will attempt to pass follows his decision to seek a multi-billion euro (multi-billion-U.S.-dollar) rescue from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Ireland is the second EU and eurozone member nation to seek help because of the effects of the financial crisis, the first being Greece.

There are fears that the crisis in Ireland could be enacted in other eurozone nations, Portugal and Spain in particular, in the near future.

The EU-IMF bailout will see about 85 billion euros (about 116 billion U.S. dollars) in loans extended to Ireland, on condition that it introduces additional austerity measures over the next four years.

Between 2011 and 2015, the bailout will see cuts of 10 billion euros (13.4 billion U.S. dollars), and tax rises of 5 billion euros (6.7 billion U.S. dollars) imposed by the Irish government if it sticks to the EU-IMF agreed plan.

Cowen has led a precarious coalition since 2008 formed from his majority Fianna Fail party, which is kept in power with a tiny majority in the Irish parliament and support from Greens and independents.

"We have entered into discussions with European partners on the basis that we are going to implement a budget with a 6-billion-euro (8.04-billion-U.S.-dollar) adjustment to it and that we will provide a four-year plan this week," Cowen said Tuesday.

As well as aid from eurozone nations, Ireland has been offered loans by EU nations outside the euro. Britain, many of whose high street banks are in the Irish market and whose economy has close ties with Ireland, has announced it stands ready with a bilateral loan of up to 4.5 billion pounds (about 7.1 billion U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua


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