Irish premier says EU-IMF bailout could total €85B

By Shawn Pogatchnik

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 24 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern says the EU-IMF bailout fund for his cash-strapped country could total €85 billion ($115 billion) but has yet to be agreed.

Cowen told lawmakers Wednesday that "an amount in the order of €85 billion has been discussed." He was responding to Irish media reports that this would be the total aid offered.

The premier spoke hours before his government publishes a four-year austerity plan, a prerequisite for Ireland's receipt of any EU-IMF aid.

The plan seeks €10 billion ($13.3 billion) in spending cuts and €5 billion ($6.7 billion) in tax increases so that Ireland's 2014 deficit can be reduced to 3 percent of gross domestic product, the euro-zone limit. Ireland's deficit this year is forecast to reach 32 percent, a modern European record.

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