While branded a European economic black sheep like Spain, Portugal and Italy, Ireland did a good job managing its financial crisis and didn’t need a bailout after all.
Like many, Ireland tapped low interest rates and went on a property-buying spree and then went bust, prompting the government to bail out the banks for around $60 billion.
Ireland’s deficit swelled to 14.3 percent of gross domestic product, wider than Greece’s 13.6 percent and well above Europe’s limit of 3 percent
Yet unlike Greece, Ireland has managed to convince labor unions to make concessions in order to weather the crisis thanks to the skill of Brian Cowen, Ireland’s head of government, according to The Times Online.
Police and teachers have had their salaries cut by 15 percent, ministers by 5 percent and others have had pay frozen.
“We’re in a mess, the Irish have acknowledged, accepting with some grace the abrupt loss of their starry role as Celtic Tiger,” The Times Online writes.
Greece, meanwhile, is dealing with strikes and violent protests as the government works to install austerity measures.
Ireland appears to be breaking free from its recession.
A recent Reuters survey of Irish economists predicted economic growth of 1 percent for 2010, compared to a 0.6 percent contraction from a prediction made in March.
“We are over the worst, the numbers are getting better,” Alan McQuaid, Bloxhams Stockbrokers chief economist, tells The Irish Examiner. “There is a definite pick-up in the economy.”
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