Ireland may need IMF bailout says N.Y. Times - says scale of debt is massive

In a front page story on Monday "The New York Times" is reporting that Ireland’s debt woes have “stoked fear that it might even need to follow Greece and request a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.”

Such a move could "do lasting damage to Ireland’s credit standing.” The Times says.

In a story entitled “Irish debt woes revive concern about Europe” the newspaper reports that the Irish bond market already in free fall plunged further after the government announced massive new spending cuts.

The Times stated that “Investors took it not as a sign of resolve but rather of Ireland’s desperation and uncertainty about the true extent of its problems.”

They noted that the yield on Ireland’s 10-year bond climbed to 7.6 percent on Friday, opening a huge gap on the 2.5 percent interest rate on comparable bonds issued by Germany.

“The scale of the deficits are just so big,” said Philip R. Lane, a professor of international economics at Trinity College in Dublin., The Times notes that Ireland has “enough cash on hand to allow it to finance government operations through June 2011.”

But the paper says that Ireland may become the poster child for the fact that even drastic measures by European countries will not solve their long term debt problems.

Despite praise for Ireland’s austerity program the Times says Ireland badly underestimated the extent of the debt problem.”

“But as the full extent of the banking and real estate bust became evident, it was clear that the government of Prime Minister Cowen, (pictured),which has been in power since the onset of the crisis more than two years ago, had underestimated the cost of fiscal recovery."

The Times notes that the International Monetary Fund argued that the increasing debt ratios among advanced nations needed to be addressed.

The paper noted that the leader in such debt is Ireland, whose “debt level has almost doubled, to nearly 100 percent of G.D.P.”

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