Belfast Telegraph

Nation 'meeting bailout commitment'

Ireland is well on track to meet commitments under the multibillion bailout loans programme, the European Commission said.

But the report card warned that the economy is only seeing a timid recovery and it has forecast gradual growth for this year.

One of the major concerns in the technical review is the jobs crisis, with Commission inspectors warning there is a clear risk of the growing problem of long-term unemployment becoming structural.

Limiting this risk requires considerable attention going forward, the review team said.

On the plus side, the report said that the 70 billion euro bank recapitalisation was completed at a significantly lower cost to the State than originally anticipated.

The third instalment of the 85 billion euro bailout loans - 5.5 billion euro - is planned to be paid in two tranches by the end of September and end of October.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and European Central Bank spent 10 days in Dublin from July 6 reviewing progress under the bailout before confirming the State is well financed and on course. In the same week ratings agency Moody's downgraded the country's borrowing grade to junk status.

The IMF followed up its review earlier this week by urging the Government to move on plans to sell off State assets and called for up to five billion euro worth of privatisation.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the report is positive but the Government is not clapping itself on the back.

"A fundamental of the report is that there is now international recognition that the decisions taken by the Government and the EU are having a material and beneficial effect on our country," he said. "It's positive but I recognise the scale of the challenge facing the country. I recognise the difficult challenges that face a Government and the people and from that perspective we do not clap ourselves on the back."

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