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Ireland voting on Europe’s deficit-fighting treaty
Question of the Day
Only when Ireland gets its deficit back down below 3 percent in 2015 or 2016, the key goal tied to existing EU-IMF aid, would the new treaty’s tougher limit of 0.5 percent of GDP come into play and, potentially, extend Irish austerity to the end of the decade.
The Irish leader, Kenny, warned throughout the campaign that a “no” outcome would lead to further Irish credit-risk downgrades, make a second IMF-led bailout in 2013 the only plausible alternative to avoid a national default, and require even harsher austerity moves in 2013 and 2014 because Ireland no longer would be able to borrow from the EU.
Ireland’s anti-treaty forces long have demanded write-downs on the remaining debt liabilities of Ireland’s six banks, five of which have been nationalized and seen their biggest toxic debts transferred to two new state-run “bad banks.”
State-guaranteed repayments to international bondholders of Ireland’s most recklessly managed lender, the defunct Anglo Irish Bank, are expected to cost taxpayers €47 billion ($59 billion) by the time the last IOU is cleared in 2031. On Wednesday the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Matthew Elderfield, said Ireland’s total bank-bailout bill might need to rise an additional €4 billion ($5 billion) to €68 billion ($85 billion) — a sum equivalent to around €19,000 ($24,000) per man, woman and child in Ireland.
By John McAfee
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