Kenny addressing nation as State exits bailout

Taoiseach marking the end of the State’s three-year troika bailout programme in a televised address to the nation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to address the nation this evening to mark the end of the bailout programme. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to address the nation this evening to mark the end of the bailout programme. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 09:23

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is tonight marking the end of the State’s three-year troika bailout programme in a televised address to the nation.

The State received the last tranche of funds from the €85 billion loan on Friday - when Minister for Finance Michael Noonan branded Irish citizens as the “real heroes and heroines” of the story.

But he warned a long road to recovery still lies ahead, as the Coalition grapples to drive down soaring unemployment levels.

Live feed: Watch the Taoiseach's address

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Mr Noonan described the economic meltdown as the greatest crisis the country has endured since the Famine.

And he insisted the Government was committed to both getting people back to work and helping Irish emigrants return home.

Ireland’s finances, budgets and policies have been under intense scrutiny since the country agreed to a massive loan package in 2010.

The IMF, the European Central Bank and European Commission have carried out 12 intense reviews over the last three years and imposed a series of tough targets, all of which were met by the State.

The Irish public has endured four austerity budgets since the EU/IMF agreed to grant the bailout.

Over those three years, the Government has increased taxes to the tune of €5.3 billion and cut public spending by a cumulative €9.6 billion.

The unemployment rate had soared above 15 per cent before the start of the bailout.

In the years before the banking crisis in 2008, Ireland enjoyed virtually full employment.

The country will become the first eurozone state to have successfully completed a strict bailout programme.

Little is expected to change come tomorrow morning, but Mr Noonan predicted a “change in perspective” in that Ireland will have control over its own destiny.

PA

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