Belfast Telegraph

Irish efforts to overcome debt crisis win high praise

By Colm Kelpie

The head of the world's biggest private equity firm has heaped praise on Ireland for accepting that the crisis was "our fault" and pledging to "clean it up".

Blackstone chief executive Stephen Schwarzman has invested heavily in so-called distressed Irish assets including Eircom in the wake of the crisis, and has already reaped hundreds of millions of euro as the economy in the Republic recovers.

This country had turned into one of the "great winners" coming out of the financial crisis, he said in Dublin yesterday.

"This is the only place where people said, 'OK, we made a mess, and we're going to clean it up and it's our fault and we're going to fix it'.

"That's because you have a great people here and you have great leadership," Mr Schwarzman said at an event in Trinity College Dublin which was also attended by the Republic's Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

He said he had been watching Ireland, including the fact that the state is now the fastest growing economy in Europe, and described it as "amazing".

"Ireland has turned into the great winners coming out of the financial crisis. You may not see that yourselves because you're living through it," he said.

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