Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

We're ready to help, says IMF chief

The International Monetary Fund has said it can help Ireland amid speculation the country is heading for a bail-out.

The IMF has not received any request from the Dublin government so far, managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.

"I think they can manage well," he said, while adding: "If at one point in time... the Irish want some support from the IMF, of course we will be ready."

On Friday, European leaders released a statement seeking to reassure Ireland's panicky creditors by promising that tougher new terms for future bail-outs of indebted countries would not harm them.

But nerves remain frayed as some expect the country to follow Greece in grasping for a financial lifeline sooner rather than later.

Speculation about a bail-out for Ireland pushed the Dublin government's borrowing costs to record highs last week, the latest indication that the continent-wide crisis over governments with too much debt is still festering and clouding prospects for a hesitant economic recovery.

While the statement calmed market jitters, media reports nevertheless surfaced that Ireland is in talks with the European Union to receive emergency funding for a eurozone financial backstop programme - claims denied by the government.

Mr Strauss-Kahn said he is "confident" that Ireland will solve its problems, and described its current predicament, which is a banking issue, as "totally different" to Greece.

"It's not the same thing as the Greece problem, which was at the same time a fiscal problem but also a competitiveness problem," he said.

"And one of the difficulties for the Greek government... is that they also have to solve this competitiveness problem. Without solving this problem, they won't find a way out."

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph