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Ireland-Polls support debt default

Posted by seumasach on November 29, 2010

Morning Star

28th November, 2010

Most Irish people want their government to default on debts to bondholders at the country’s banks, according to a poll published today.

The Sunday Independent survey, which was conducted with Quantum Research, found that 57 per cent of respondents favoured a default on bank debt, against 43 per cent who opposed such a move.

About two-thirds of respondents also opposed the regressive cuts agenda in the government’s four-year budget plan released on November 24.

The stark findings were published as finance ministers from across the 27-member state European Union gathered in Brussels to discuss the details of a nine-year, €85 billion (£72.1bn) loan for Dublin from EU and International Monetary Fund donors.

Irish Communications Minister Eamon Ryan struggled to dispel rumours that the “rescue package” would come with a hefty interest rate of 6.7 per cent.

“I think that figure was inaccurate. And it was unfortunate because it did scare a hell of a lot of people,” Mr Ryan said.

He declined to speculate what the average interest rate would be, but said it would be nearer the 5.2 per cent average being paid by Greece for its €110bn (£93bn) EU-IMF “bailout” in May.

That would saddle Ireland with an annual interest payment of around €5bn (£4.2bn) over nine years.

On Saturday around 100,000 people marched to Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, to denounce the imminent loan and the government’s four-year plan to cut the budget deficit to the arbitrary EU limit of 3 per cent of GDP by 2014.

The protest, organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, highlighted fears that Ireland’s next emergency budget could drive thousands into poverty or bankruptcy.

The 2011 budget being unveiled on December 7 includes €4.5bn (£3.8bn) in cuts and €1.5bn (£1.2bn) in new taxes – the fourth emergency budget in three years designed to chop the deficit down to the EU maximum.

The protesters – led by commentator Fintan O’Toole and folk singers on a podium in front of the General Post Office, headquarters of Ireland’s 1916 uprising against British domination – called for Ireland to default on its debts to international financiers, just as Iceland and Argentina had done.

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