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IMF loans further 3.2 billion euro

More than 3.2 billion euro (£2.7 billion) in loans is being released to Ireland following a review of the bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The latest release of funds followed a fifth review of Ireland's performance and brings the IMF's loans up to 16 billion euro (£13.6 billion) over three years.

Acting IMF chairman David Lipton said the Irish authorities have continued strong implementation of their programme despite deteriorating external conditions.

They also met 2011 fiscal targets with a margin and advanced structural reforms to support growth and job creation, he said.

"The Irish authorities have responded by raising the fiscal consolidation effort adopted in Budget 2012, and the budget remains on track to meet an unchanged general government deficit target of 8.6% of GDP," said Mr Lipton.

"If growth should weaken further, the automatic stabilisers should be allowed to operate to help avoid jeopardising the fragile recovery."

The IMF programme was approved in December 2010 as part of a larger 85 billion euro (£72 billion) bailout, supported by the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility, loans from Britain, Sweden and Denmark and Ireland's own contributions.

The IMF said Irish authorities had continued to advance wide-ranging reforms to restore the health of the financial system so it can support Ireland's recovery.

Major progress in downsizing the banking system has been made, with the two largest banks disposing of almost 15 billion euro (£12.7 billion) in mainly foreign assets in 2011 at better prices than anticipated.

Steps to support growth and job creation are being put in place, reforms of sectoral wage agreements have been submitted to parliament, and a comprehensive strategy for personal insolvency reform has been announced, including an out-of-court debt settlement mechanism which would cover mortgages and other secured debts, it added.


From Belfast Telegraph