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In a move that might have inspired Charles Dickens, on Sunday Irish government negotiators offered up the country's National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) as part of the $111 billion bailout that will burden Ireland with over a generation of debt.

Under the new rescue agreement, money that was set aside for future pension payments will now be used as capital for the bailout.

Irish opposition parties had intended to use the money to fund a stimulus package for the ailing economy but instead they will be bound by the terms of the EU and IMF bailout.

As Irish pensioners were shortchanged, senior bondholders escaped unscathed after EU diplomats refused to allow them to shoulder any of the pain.

European officials reportedly warned Dublin that they would not provide any help if bondholders got burned in the deal. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen admitted that the bondholder issue was a red line one with the EU.