Irish unveil 4-year plan to claw back $20 billion

By Shawn Pogatchnik

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 24 2010 7:40 a.m. MST

DUBLIN — Ireland has unveiled the harshest budget measures in its history, a four-year plan to claw back $20 billion using spending cuts and extra taxes.

The plan hopes to cut €10 billion ($13.3 billion) from spending and raise €5 billion ($6.7 billion) in extra taxes to combat Europe's worst deficit.

The government's long-awaited austerity plan is a prerequisite for Ireland to get an EU-IMF loan estimated to total €85 billion ($115 billion).

Ireland hopes the tough medicine will permit its 2014 deficit to fall 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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