Irish people 'heroes' of bailout

Published Friday, 13 December 2013
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Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has hailed the ordinary people of Ireland as the "heroes and heroines" of the international bailout programme.

The minister was speaking as the once financially-crippled nation marked its exit from the European Union and International Monetary Fund's €85bn loan programme.

The country will officially exit the programme on Sunday and re-enter the money markets.

Ireland's finances, budgets and policies have been under intense scrutiny since the country agreed to the massive loan package in 2010.

Its debt masters - the IMF, the European Central Bank and European Commission, have carried out 12 intense reviews over the last three years and imposed a series of tough targets.

All of which were met by the state.

Mr Noonan said those who had suffered the most were the hundreds of thousands who lost their jobs and homes, and the young people who were forced to emigrate.

He said: "The real heroes and heroines of the story are the Irish people.

"They have had their taxes increased, they have had their services cut drastically and some of them, including public servants, have had very serious pay cuts.

"Everybody has had cuts in their pensions as well. But they have continued to support the government."

That is a huge testament to the fortitude and the forbearance of the people of Ireland, who rolled up their sleeves and understood that a job of work had to be done.

Brendan Howlin

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin described the day as a "milestone that many thought Ireland would never reach".

He added: "We now have a much greater control over our own destiny into the future."

However, both he and Mr Noonan made a cautionary warning that there was no cause for the country to "go mad" following the exit, insisting the government will have to remain committed to making "prudent" economic and social decisions.

Ireland has become the first country to exit the European support programme and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso congratulate both the government and the people on the work.

"Thanks to their efforts and sacrifices, Ireland will now be able to finance itself through its own efforts," Mr Barroso said.

"This result would not have been possible without the solidarity and significant financial support of the other EU member states.

"I would also like to pay tribute the efforts and contribution of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the wide-ranging reform programme, which has now been successfully completed."

© UTV News
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16 Comments
Ady in Euro-zone wrote (124 days ago):
@ jim and paul...I don't think Ireland will be able to cover Britains' debt of a mind-blowing £900 Billion ! But we could save you a few quid by taking back the "six" and saving £££'s by banning their parades and marches !
Frosty in Here wrote (124 days ago):
@ oisin mullan, and yet so many emigrate from Ireland to the UK, not the other way round. Why is that?
John in Creggan wrote (125 days ago):
@paul in larne A typical uneducated comment. The 400 million was offered to Ireland by the UK, because the UK exports billions in goods & services to Ireland, that means Irish consumers support jobs in the UK. Paul did you know that Ireland is NI's biggest trading partner, again the Irish people keeping NI in work. The Irish people saved the Euro by not burning the bondholders the, bailouts where forced on Ireland by the IMF,EU & the World bank all to save the Euro. So do a bit of research before you comment. My own opinion it that Ireland should have stuck 2 fingers up to the bondholders & seen what happened.
Mike in Stoke wrote (125 days ago):
Jim, Ireland pays it's bills, unlike the north of Ireland! Did you know that London needed a bailout from the IMF in the 70s??
Paul in London wrote (125 days ago):
Paul in larne. You're laughed at. You cannot support yourselves. You depend on handouts every year from the english tax payer. The english tax payer loaned Ireland money to safeguard its interests in the country. Ireland one of Englands biggest trading partners in the world. Well done to the Irish people.
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