Ireland is still living beyond its means and its economy remains fragile, the country’s leader has said in a televised address.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night spoke to the nation ahead of an austerity budget and said the country is still spending €16 billion (£13.7 billion) a year more than it is taking in.
“At the end of last year, our economy was in deep crisis and while steps to recover from the crisis have been taken, we remain in crisis today,” the leader said.
Ireland was forced to seek a bailout from the European Union’s European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary Fund in November 2010. The country eventually agreed an €85 billion rescue deal with the international community.
Kenny said the upcoming budget will cut public spending by €2.2 billion and raise an additional €1.6 billion in taxes. This is part of the government’s aim to lower the public deficit to 3% of GDP by 2015.
“My government is determined that now the necessary decisions and changes are made to ensure that this is never allowed to happen again,” he added. “Right now, our most important responsibility is to do what must be done to get our economy back on its feet.”
The taoiseach also unveiled a four-year strategy to restore Ireland’s economic health centred around lowering the country’s unemployment rate, which currently stands at 14.5%.
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