The credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Ireland's debt rating, ensuring it will now occupy the same category as Libya and South Africa.

Fitch cut Ireland's ranking from A+ to BBB+. The organization said it was taking the step as a result of the liabilities that arose from the guarantee for the banks.

The downgrade went ahead despite the most punishing budget in the history of the State.

Fitch said Ireland's structural deficit was the largest in the eurozone, which meant it was no longer consistent with a high investment grade rating. Fitch also added that the outlook for the Irish economy was still highly uncertain.

Fitch has ruled out any possibility of Ireland defaulting on its debts however, adding that the rebalancing of the Irish economy was now well under way, but the governments austerity program and its bank restructuring could slow the recovery.