Fianna 'Failed' The Irish People

After weeks of speculation, the Irish Government has formerly applied for an economic rescue package from Europe.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan confirmed on Saturday night that Europe had agreed to the opening of formal negotiations to allow Ireland to seek financial assistance.

The move - which many will see as a failure - will involve “tens of billions” of Euro being made available to Ireland to stabilise Irish banks.

Speaking this morning, Brian Cowen began to outline some of the effects the loan will have.

Firstly, Irish banks will become "significantly smaller" than they have been in the past, Mr Cowen revealed, claiming this will enable them to be gradually brought to "stand on their own two feet once more".

Secondly, Mr Cowen said a key element of the agreement will include plans to further reduce the budget deficit. The Taoiseach said the Government had to increase taxes and reduce spending to levels we can afford. It's not yet clear whether this reduction will be in excess of the already planned austerity measures, and if so, then by how much.

"In order to help Ireland complete these essential tasks, and to safeguard the stability of the euro area, we will receive funding which we will repay over time."

Mr Cowen said he welcomed the "supportive statements" from Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and others and the leaders of the European institutions.

Despite Mr Cowen's positivity, there have been less than favourable reactions to the events.

After a number of protests outside the Dáil and Merrion street last night, Labour accused the Government of leading the nation to the "brink of ruin".

"The time has now come for them to stand aside and let the Irish people take control of their own future," said the party's Spokesperson on Arts, Mary Upton.

Meanwhile, the Government Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs was embarrassed on RTÉ show Primetime, after receiving a scathing censure from Labour's Pat Rabbitte.

Mr Rabbitte told the Government Minister that he "ought to be ashamed of yourself." "You ought to be ashamed to show your face in this studio after what you have brought our country to penury tonight and the damage that you have done to people's livelihoods and start the young people emmigrating again," Mr Rabbitte said.


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