Financial News

  • 16 December 2013, 14:37

Ireland Exits Bailout As Economy Turns Around

Ireland has become the first country in the eurozone to exit a bailout programme it was forced to take when it fell on hard times.

The country's economy, previously dubbed the Celtic Tiger because of it incredible growth, needed the emergency measure because its revenues fell and expenses increased in the wake of the financial crisis.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the exit sent out a "powerful signal internationally, that Ireland is fighting back, that the spirit of our people is as strong as ever".

He said: "Ireland is now moving in the right direction. Our economy is starting to recover. While we still have far too many people out of work, jobs are being created."

The bailout programme allowed the country access to £72bn (85bn euros) in cash to help pay its bills.

But the ready supply of money, from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and EU, came at a price.

Experts from the IMF, ECB and EU were able to take partial control of Ireland's economy.

It led to a period of austerity, with taxes being raised and government spending cut, resulting in thousands of public jobs being lost.

It was also viewed as a national humiliation, with the public appalled that its leaders had been forced to go 'cap in hand' to outside bodies.

The government claims that the measures have helped Ireland's economy and jobs are now being created at a faster rate than for years.

The amount of interest Ireland was paying on its government debt began to increase as uncertainty over the country's future intensified and this is widely seen as the main reason for the problems.

The rate at which it borrows money has now fallen, which has allowed it to bring public expenditure under control.

Ireland is some distance ahead of other countries that suffered a similar fate.

Portugal is predicted to complete its programme next year, but Greece could be many years away yet. Other EU countries that are not members of the euro also face controls on their economies for some time.

Despite the bailout exit, Ireland's finance minister has warned the country is not out of danger yet.

He said the signs of sustained improvement were good, but it depended on the country's economy continuing to grow.

Michael Noonan said on Friday: "This isn't the end of the road. This is a very significant milestone on the road. But we must continue with the same types of policies.

"The real heroes and heroines of this are the Irish people. People are beginning to spend. Property prices are improving... it's fragile.

"But in my view things are building well and I would hope that next year would be better for a lot of people who have made a lot of sacrifices."

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