Ireland has agreed to a bailout of between 80 and 100 billion euros from the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), finally backing down to pressure from its Eurozone partners after several weeks of denying that the country needed financial assistance. Despite not being part of the euro, the UK has offered a £7 billion loan.
The Irish cabinet’s request for aid was approved by EU finance ministers during an emergency conference late Sunday. There has been growing panic in the financial markets that the debt-laden nation could spread contagion to neighbouring euro economies.
Ireland will be the first country to receive financial support from the euro 750 billion financial safety net, created by the EU and the IMF six months ago, to help Eurozone nations in financial crisis.
The fund was set up after debt-ridden Greece slipped to the verge of bankruptcy in May and had to be rescued by a euro 110 billion bailout from the EU and the IMF.
The exact figure of Ireland’s bailout has not yet been determined and will be decided during the negotiations with the EU and the IMF in the coming days, however it is expected be between euro 80 billion and 100 billion.
Despite not being in the euro, the UK will contribute towards Ireland’s aid package and is expected to chip in “around” £7 billion.
Chancellor George Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Ireland is our very closest economic neighbour. I judged it to be in our national interest to be part of the international efforts to help the Irish.”
Anger is growing in Ireland over the government’s handling of the financial crisis.
The Irish Independent ran the headline ‘‘a nation’s outrage to drive Cowen out,’’ adding that the public was ‘‘furious at the manner in which the government has ’lied’ about the unprecedented events of last week.’’
Michael Noonan, finance spokesman for the main Fine Gael party, said there would be targets set down by the IMF and by Europe that the government will have to meet. ‘‘So on the fiscal area they have lost an enormous amount of control,’’ he told RTE.