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Ireland admits it needs financial help and feels “no sense of shame”

Friday, November 19th 2010 - 04:58 UTC
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Finance minister Brian Lehihan Finance minister Brian Lehihan

The Irish Republic's finance minister has said he feels “no sense of shame” over his country's economic record - but it now needs outside help. Brian Lenihan told broadcaster RTE the Republic had fought hard over the past two years for financial survival.

A team of international officials are in Dublin to discuss the country's debt crisis which has rocked the financial markets in recent days. Mr Lenihan said no figures had been discussed yet.

The Irish government has repeatedly stressed it has not asked for financial assistance from either the European Union (EU) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who are represented at the Dublin talks.

It says the government has enough money to see it through well into next year. Lenihan said the problem lies with Ireland's heavily indebted banks.

The European Central Bank (ECB), on whose loans Ireland's banks have become heavily dependent, is also part of the negotiations.

“I certainly don't feel a sense of shame about fighting hard for this country for the last two years to ensure its financial survival,” said Mr Lenihan.

“The big difficulty of course is that the banks grew to such a size that they became too unmanageable for the state itself; that's the big difficulty here. And that's why we have to consider external assistance to stabilise our banking system.”

The government has given huge support to the banking system, but has a gaping budget deficit of 32% of its gross domestic product and it can give no more.

Mr Lenihan said who would pay for any international rescue was unclear: “We have to decide as a government whether this package is in the best interest of the taxpayer, or whether it will burden the taxpayer further, that's a very important consideration for any government.”

Earlier the Republic's Central Bank Governor, Patrick Honohan - also speaking to RTE - said he expected a loan in the region of “tens of billions” of euros.

The final decision will be up to the Irish government, which has said it has not agreed to a loan from Europe.

“It'll be a large loan because the purpose of the amount to be advanced or to be made available to be borrowed is to show that Ireland has sufficient firepower to deal with any concerns of the market. That's the purpose of it,” he told RTE.

An EU handout could be seen as a big loss of face for the Republic - essentially meaning that its survival and solvency were reliant on Brussels.

Categories: Economy, International.

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  • Hamster

    Finland is demanding it's money back also, private loans still haven't been paid.

    Nov 19th, 2010 - 05:28 am 0
  • Typhoon

    It needs to feel ashamed. It was doing OK until it bowed to EU pressure and accepted the Lisbon Treaty. Time to restore some part of its credibility by assisting in the destruction of the EU. Do that and you can look for assistance. Fail, and you will be pariahs.

    Nov 20th, 2010 - 04:56 pm 0
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