Ireland out of intensive care, but still looks sickly

Despite exiting its bail-out programme, Ireland still has a long way to go.

The announcement that Ireland has officially exited the €85bn bail-out programme set up by the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund at the height of the eurozone crisis "is reason to begin to hope again", says Fergus Finlay in the Irish Examiner.

Yet this doesn't mean that all Ireland's struggles are behind it, says Henry Chu in the Los Angeles Times. Yes, the country has already shown it can once again borrow at commercial interest rates and has built up enough of a reserve to fund itself until 2015 in case markets experience any further turbulence in the next few months.

But "official relief at the end of Ireland's reliance on emergency loans is tempered by the fact that it will continue to face deep government cuts in order to close a yawning budget gap and pay off its debt"; the debt-to-GDP ratio remains an unnerving 124%.

That might be less of an issue if the economy was springing back to life robustly, but Ireland continues to face "significant economic challenges", according to Christine Largarde, the IMF's managing director.

Chief among these is tackling unemployment, especially among the young.Around a quarter of those aged under 25 are jobless, even after significant numbers have left the country in search of better prospects.

Meanwhile, bank lending remains weak and promised structural reforms have been implemented piecemeal at best, says The Economist. Realistically, "Ireland is almost as far away as ever from a clean bill of economic health".

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too
Brexit

No deal is the best deal for Britain – and the EU too

Europe has a lot to gain from a thriving, independent Britain, says Matthew Lynn.
6 Sep 2020
Europe’s magic works better in the dark
EU Economy

Europe’s magic works better in the dark

Europe’s latest fiscal intervention looks like the kind of muddle-through that makes a United States of Europe more likely, says Merryn Somerset Webb.…
28 Aug 2020
The eurozone takes a big step forward towards fiscal union
EU Economy

The eurozone takes a big step forward towards fiscal union

The European Union’s coronavirus recovery plan and its decision to issue joint debt will change the bloc forever.
23 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Here’s why you really should own at least some bitcoin
Bitcoin

Here’s why you really should own at least some bitcoin

While bitcoin is having a quiet year – at least in relative terms – its potential to become the default cash system for the internet is undiminished, …
16 Sep 2020
Will a second wave of Covid lead to another stockmarket crash?
Stockmarkets

Will a second wave of Covid lead to another stockmarket crash?

Can we expect to see another lockdown like in March, and what will that mean for your money? John Stepek explains.
18 Sep 2020
James Ferguson: How bad data is driving fear of a second wave of Covid-19
UK Economy

James Ferguson: How bad data is driving fear of a second wave of Covid-19

Merryn and John talk to MoneyWeek regular James Ferguson about the rise in infections in coronavirus and what the data is really telling us.
17 Sep 2020