Belfast Telegraph

Bail-out bosses warn of shared pain

Ireland's bail-out bosses have warned everyone must take their share of pain if the country is to make a recovery.

In their latest progress report, the EU, IMF and ECB troika shone the spotlight on the "sheltered" legal, medical and pharmacy industries for still being too expensive.

They also warned about a "lost generation" in youth unemployment unless the government and the international bodies put heads together to create jobs.

Istvan Szekely, EC director of economic and financial affairs, said: "We have to be honest - Ireland is not yet out of the woods."

He said real progress was being made and all targets under the rescue deal had been met, but added that a lot of sacrifice from everybody in Ireland was needed to remain on track to pull itself out of the economic crisis.

Mr Szekely said exports and manufacturing were performing "outstandingly" well and driving growth but he insisted medical, pharmacy and legal services needed to slash their prices.

And with unemployment unacceptably high, he said they needed to come back and put heads together with the government to avert a potential "lost generation" of younger people who are unable to find work.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the government was working with the troika on the possibility of using money from the sale of State assets - like part of ESB - to fund job creation programmes.

IMF deputy director Ajai Chopra praised the government for taking a "sensible approach" to resolving the mortgage debt crisis but warned about outside factors like a dip in demand for exports and the impact of the eurozone's difficulties on the cost of borrowing.

The troika have been in Dublin since last week to review progress on the commitments made as part of Ireland's rescue package. The government has published a number of proposed laws, including legislation targeting the legal and medical professions, as part of the deal over recent weeks.

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