Economic Woes Grow For Cowen

The Irish economy has shrunk by an unexpected amount - 1.2% - official figures revealed on Thursday.

The bad news comes as Brian Cowen continued to tough out calls for his resignation - citing the need to concentrate on economic recovery - in the face of speculation over his political future.

Yesterday, data for the second quarter of the year showed a big contraction compared to the first three months of 2010.

This week the Taoiseach continued to insist he has the full support of his party as the Irish Government faced a number of big economic decisions in the coming weeks and months.

Mr Cowen has been questioned over his leadership in recent days, following criticism of his performance in a radio interview with RTE last week.

He has denied allegations that he was hungover during the early morning interview on 14 September - and vows to remain in post - despite his former Chief Whip, Tom Kitt calling time on the country's leader.

However, his case won't be helped by this latest report that shows the value of goods and services, including foreign-owned companies, suffered a 1.2% decline in trade between April and June.

Home-grown businesses were also hit but not to the same extent, with their value down by 0.3% as the Republic's Central Statistics Office said the economy was hit by a fall in consumer spending - down 1.7% compared to the same period last year.

The national accounts showed exports continued to show strong growth, up 884m euro (£750m) on the same three months in 2009.

See: Cowen Won't Be Moved


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