Business

Irish readers reflect on EU rescue deal

The Republic of Ireland has confirmed it is applying for up to 90bn euros (£77bn; $124bn) of European Union-led loans to help keep its economy afloat.

The junior partner in the Irish Republic's governing coalition, meanwhile, has called for a general election in January.

Here, Irish readers share their views on the multi-billion euro bail-out and rapidly-changing political developments in their country.

Tony Rodgers, 20, student, Cork

Image caption Tony Rodgers is angry and facing an uncertain future

First and foremost, I must admit I am angry.

The process in which Ireland has transformed itself from one of the poorest regions in Europe to one of the most economically successful in the world, right back to fiscally destroyed again has been far too fast a phenomena.

I hope the terms and conditions of the bail-out require the government to be more brazen in where they begin to look for cuts.

It is here I hope the public sector agreement will be revisited as it has become a deal we simply cannot afford.

It looks like the Irish government will be facing an election very soon, but it must be after the budget, as compounding our fiscal problems and bank bail-out with a general election would only make things drastically worse.

I will be heavily affected personally, as in the immediate future I will be hit by grant cuts and increases in college costs.

In the long term, if I somehow find a job after graduating and manage to stay in this country, it will be through my taxes over the next 30 years that I will be personally affected.

And all to pay for the lack of regulation in the banking sector at the same time as a collapse in the property market.

Darren McBride, 41, software consultant, Dublin

Image caption Darren McBride says it is a bad day for the Irish

I believe that there are aspects of this bail-out that are seedy and not being openly discussed and that interests other than those of Ireland are at the heart of the matter.

I am happy, however, to see the arrival of the IMF to stop the lying and hope that some decent fiscal management will be around the corner.

I also believe, for the first time, that the euro project has not been good for Ireland and its viability should be examined in the future.

So, it's a very bad day for Ireland all round.

A proud and hardworking people, sold by greedy and self-serving politicians, civil servants and bankers.

There also seems to be a misunderstanding in the UK and elsewhere about what is going on in Ireland and that everyone believes we are getting another handout.

We are receiving financial assistance to support our banks at exorbitant rates from which the lenders will make yet more money from Ireland.

If Irish banks fail, banks in the UK and elsewhere that were too willing to lend huge sums of money during the good times will also be in danger of failing.

Paul Neary, 40, engineer, Killarney, County Kerry

Image caption Paul Neary says Irish people have nowhere to hide from their debts

How did it come to this?

Ireland was the envy of Europe not so long ago. The Celtic Tiger was meant to ensure that we would never have to endure a decade like the 1980s again.

The pyramid scheme property bubble has brought this country to its knees.

Now we must wonder if we can draw some positives from an IMF bailout and whether it will result in reform of our banking system and public sector.

I am talking real reform that is fast-tracked without the unions dragging out the process indefinitely.

Now is this country's chance to effect change. Government, unions, and management know that this is last chance saloon.

We await the memorandum of agreement for the meat of the matter.

However for Irish people there is pain ahead. The country is riddled with personal debt, mortgages on homes, mortgage on investment properties, credit cards, and overdrafts.

The austerity measures will result in less money in the pockets of people who are struggling.

People who have lost their jobs and are living in a house with substantial negative equity have nowhere to run or hide.

Young families are sentenced to a life of debt and their only crime was to try and secure a roof over their heads.

Robert Stanley, 42, IT professional, Dublin

Image caption Robert Stanley says Europe will have to 'put up and shut up in contributing to this bail-out'

So we have to accept now that we will be getting assistance from Europe and the IMF.

I can only see it as a good measure when you consider the total incompetence and lack of accountability on the part of our government.

Europe will have to put up and shut up in contributing to this bail-out, because it is Europe who has rammed all the treaties from Brussels down our throats, so now they must pick up the tab.

Hopefully this will set Ireland on the road to recovery.

I believe we still have a negotiating hand and I think the terms will be favourable to us and will not affect our corporation tax.

I expect our stubborn government to be embarrassed into resigning, although they may push the budget through first.

Brian Cowen has to be under severe pressure at present with some people saying he will be gone or challenged by Friday evening after this week's by-election in Donegal.

Niall Concannon, 35, IT specialist, Dublin

The bail-out, unfortunately, is necessary to restore confidence in the Irish and European banking systems.

The most important issue now will be the memorandum of agreement which will stipulate the terms and conditions of the stability fund.

I do worry, however, that the same people who got us into this situation will be negotiating this.

The bail-out itself won't save Ireland. Exports are increasing, we are becoming more competitive but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

We are spending more than we are making and we have a massive credit bill hanging over our heads.

We need to reform the legal system. Our economy and our very way of life are governed by draconian, old laws.

The public service also needs a radical overhaul. It's riddled with overpaid, self-serving middle-management.

Wages in the private sector are falling dramatically - the same will have to happen to the public sector and pensions will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The tax and banking systems are going to be scrutinised the most. The minimum wage will have to be lowered and social welfare will have to be cut.

The government should stay long enough to complete the negotiations, then it's time to pack their bags and leave with their massive pensions.

I believe the outlook for Ireland is bright overall. We are a resilient race.

We will pull through, but we are in for a tough time over the next five or six years.

Sarah Murphy, 19, student, Cork

Image caption Sarah intends to leave Ireland after her studies

Unfortunately the bail-out was necessary.

It was such a shame that our leaders had to wait for the EU and the IMF to basically demand action. I don't know what the effects will be.

It was clear that the government was never going to get us out of the financial hole. I have very little confidence in the governing party. But I'm not sure any of the other parties are any better either.

At the end of my university studies I know I will be getting out of the country. Many others on my course will do the same.

I'm scared about what will happen as more social programmes are cut. I'm scared about the next budget. A loan of even 100bn euros may deal with our current debts and help prop up the banks. But there won't be any money left to grow the economy.

People are frustrated and angry that everything appeared fine until March 2008 and then we fell so quickly and so deeply.

People are angry that the government failed to deal with the problems but instead dragged them out.

There will be more protests. But the main way people will respond is by emigrating.

Sean Jackson, 30, photographer, Dublin

Image caption Sean says there now needs to be a big change in Irish politics

The bail-out is a necessity at this point, especially as Europe has been requesting this action.

I just hope things can calm down now and we can draw a line under the crisis.

But it does all depend on what the exact clauses are in the agreement. It would be disastrous if the corporate tax rate were to go up. The low business tax has been a cornerstone of our economy.

The government have said this will not happen - but it's getting to the point where it is hard to believe anything they have to say.

It is not ideal that the EU is stepping in with the bail-out. But I am not too worried about a loss of sovereignty. The EU should have Ireland's best interests at heart. What's good for Ireland is good for Europe.

What we need now in Ireland is a revolution in the political system. The first thing that needs to change is that the government must go. Everyone feels powerless. We need real leadership than can inspire confidence in the people.

There has also been too much focus on the things that have gone wrong. We need to look to the positives. There is still a lot of potential in this country.

We need to focus on job creation, and a take the long view on how to invest whatever money we have.

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