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Posts Tagged ‘Irish’

Euro falls as Irish credit rating cut

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 6:27 am

TOKYO, Dec 20, 2010 (AFP) – The euro fell against other currencies in Asia on Monday on worries over the eurozone’s public finances after Moody’s slashed debt-stricken Ireland’s credit rating, analysts said.


The euro fell to 1.3154 from 1.3185 dollars in New York late Friday and to 110.35 yen from 110.78 yen. The dollar firmed to 84.00 yen from 83.94 yen.


Moody’s Investors Service on Friday cut its credit rating on Ireland by five notches, citing uncertainties over the country’s economy and public finances.


It came a day after European leaders agreed at a Brussels summit to set up a permanent financial stability mechanism from 2013 to shore up the euro amid fears Portugal and Spain may need bailouts after Irish and Greek rescues.


But there was no decision to increase its size beyond the bloc’s temporary 750 billion euro fund or allow it to purchase government bonds, or introduce a common European bond, John Kyriakopoulos of National Australian Bank noted.


“As such, European sovereign debt concerns are likely to linger into the New Year,” he wrote in a note, adding investors needed to watch European bank funding costs.


The failure to enlarge the size of the bailout fund was disappointing “given worries that it is insufficient to cope with the bailout of larger eurozone countries if needed,” said Frances Cheung at Credit Agricole CIB.


The South Korean won fell after South Korea ordered civilians on five border islands to take shelter ahead of a live-fire exercise Monday despite North Korean threats of deadly retaliation.


The unit extended its early losses against the safe-haven US dollar, which in morning trade fetched 1,167.40 won from 1,163.40 earlier.


But the news hardly moved dollar-yen rates with the yen also drawing buying as a safe currency, analysts said.

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Source: SGGP

Irish lawmakers to vote on EU-IMF bailout deal

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

 Ireland’s parliament is set to back the country’s 85-billion-euro (113-billion-dollar) EU-IMF bailout later Wednesday, but it will be a close vote, a key independent lawmaker said.


Joe Behan, a former member of Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail party, told AFP on Tuesday that he expected the vote to be “extremely tight.”


“It could be passed by just two votes,” added Behan.


The bailout deal for crisis-hit Ireland comprises 67.5 billion euros in external loans and guarantees from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, with another 17.5 billion euros from the Irish government.

Irish police guard the front gate of the Irish Parliament building (Dail) in Dublin, Ireland, on December 7, 2010.

Lawmakers will vote later Wednesday at the Dail, or lower house of parliament, amid stubborn market worries over the eurozone debt crisis.


Cowen’s parliamentary party has called for the vote to “add political legitimacy to the agreement and to force the opposition to take a definitive position on the matter.”


Behan, now an independent lawmaker in the Wicklow constituency south of Dublin, has backed the government’s budget measures and will be voting for the deal.


The lawmaker, who resigned from Fianna Fail in 2008, added that he was “very, very sceptical” that the opposition would be able to negotiate a better bailout deal if they got into power.


Cowen has said opposition parties were still trying to make the public believe that there was “an easy way out” of the country’s funding crisis.


The vote would give them the opportunity “to either come clean, recognise that this deal is essential and in the best interests of the country, or spell out their alternative,” he argued.


But Cowen’s personal standing has plummeted to just eight percent in the polls and support for his party is also down sharply: it is at 13 percent compared to the 42 percent backing it received in the 2007 general election.


Judging from the polls, it is facing a drubbing when the country holds elections again early next year.


Ireland’s opposition parties — who have already voted against the government’s annual 2011 budget — have said they will also reject the EU-IMF memorandum of understanding on the bailout.


Dr James Reilly, deputy leader of the main opposition Fine Gael party, described the decision to vote on the bailout as a “political stunt” to deflect attention from the dismal nature of the deal.


Fianna Fail had initially refused to hold a Dail vote on the deal, he said. “Now they can’t wait to have one. The only thing that has changed is Brian Cowen’s need to keep his restive backbenchers happy.


“Fine Gael has already made it quite clear that we regard the IMF-EU bailout package as a most incompetent piece of negotiation.


“It makes no sense for Fine Gael to support a vote on a bailout which we intend to renegotiate. Such a move would only weaken the ability of a Fine Gael Government to renegotiate the deal after an election,” Reilly said.


But government chief whip John Curran was confident the bailout will be endorsed with the help of independent lawmakers.

“Yes, I do believe that the government will have the numbers to pass this motion without the support of the opposition,” he said in a statement.

The IMF’s executive board has decided to delay consideration of the rescue plan for Ireland until after Wednesday’s vote.

Source: SGGP

EU finance ministers to meet on Irish aid plan Sunday

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

European Union finance ministers are to meet in Brussels on Sunday to discuss the EU aid plan for debt-ravaged Ireland, a French source said Saturday.


The source familiar with the issue said French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde had called for a meeting of her colleagues from eurozone countries, to be joined afterwards by ministers from the rest of the EU.


Originally it had been planned for them to communicate simply by telephone to approve the package worth 85 billion euros (113 billion dollars) and its conditions, the source added.


 

Source: SGGP

Thousands of Irish protest austerity cuts

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Thousands gathered in Dublin for a mass protest Saturday against savage cutbacks needed to obtain an international bailout for debt-ravaged Ireland, heaping more pressure on the embattled government.

An Irish policeman (L) is confronted by protestors as they break through the front gates of the Irish Prime Minister’s office in Dublin, Ireland.

Police said they expected about 50,000 people to join a march against the four-year austerity package announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Brian Cowen, aimed at slashing Ireland’s huge budget deficit.


Up to 3,000 people gathered at the start of the protest, holding placards saying “Eire not for sale, not to the IMF”.


“The cuts are not necessary. The banks are being rescued, not Ireland. The banks should take the hit — cut them loose,” said Marian Hamilton, 57, who was attending the protest with her seven-year-old grandson.


The demonstration will pile more pressure on Cowen the day after his Fianna Fail party suffered a humiliating by-election defeat which cut the FF/Green Party coalition’s parliamentary majority to just two.


Cowen has been fighting off calls from opposition lawmakers to quit, insisting he must see through the austerity package and a budget due on December 7 because they are pre-conditions for the bailout.


European Union heavyweights Germany and France are urging a rapid conclusion to negotiations on the EU and International Monetary Fund loans, reportedly worth up to 85 billion euros (113 billion dollars).


Sources in Brussels said the talks, aimed at shoring up Ireland and stopping the crisis spreading to other troubled eurozone countries, would likely wrap up Sunday in time for an announcement before markets open Monday.


Media reports suggest Ireland might be charged 6.7 percent interest on the nine-year loans, significantly more than the 5.2 percent rate charged to fellow eurozone country Greece when it was bailed out earlier this year.


The 15-billion-euro austerity package will cut the minimum wage and slash 25,000 public sector jobs as Ireland strives to bring its deficit under three percent of gross domestic product by 2014. It is currently at 32 percent.


Irish Congress of Trade Unions president Jack O’Connor, the head of Ireland’s biggest union SIPTU, said it was “the harshest budget since the foundation of the state”.


“This is the result of allowing speculators, bankers and developers to run riot, pillaging and ruining our economy,” he said.


Ireland’s national sovereignty was at stake, he said, adding: “We must not stand idly by while the final nail is driven into the coffin.”


Hundreds of police officers and a helicopter were mobilised for Saturday’s march through Dublin city centre to the General Post Office, the highly symbolic site of the declaration of Irish independence in 1916.


Cowen’s government has insisted that Ireland’s austerity plan and next month’s budget are crucial steps to show fellow members of the 16-nation euro area that it is putting its finances in order.


He refused to go to the polls until lawmakers have passed the measures, not likely before January, but opposition parties have said he no longer has a mandate to govern.


In Friday’s by-election in Donegal, the opposition socialist Sinn Fein party took what was once a stronghold of Cowen’s Fianna Fail party.


Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said the party “has neither the political mandate nor the moral authority to make the crucial decisions the country now faces.”


The Irish Times said the budget would probably go through given the pressure from the EU and the IMF, but added: “There is a general consensus that Mr Cowen’s days are numbered.”


Meanwhile Michael Noonan, finance spokesman for the Fine Gael main opposition party, described reports of the 6.7 interest rate on the bailout loan as “very disturbing”.


“This rate is far too high and is unaffordable on any reasonable projection of growth,” he said.


 

Source: SGGP

Irish bailout talks accelerate as PM faces new setback

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

DUBLIN, Nov 26, 2010 (AFP) – Ireland’s government was Friday awaiting the results of a by-election expected to cut its already slim majority, as talks on an international bailout for the country’s ailing economy gathered pace.


As polls closed Thursday, Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail party was widely expected to lose its seat in County Donegal in northwest Ireland to the nationalist Sinn Fein party.

Protesters hold a demonstration in Dublin on November 24.(AFP)

If they did lose the seat it would cut the coalition government’s majority to just two seats.


A day after publishing a four-year package of austerity measures designed to smooth the way towards huge loans from the EU and IMF, Cowen warned Thursday that everyone would have to tighten their belts if Ireland was to recover.


Cowen told parliament the plan — unprecedented in Irish history — gave people a chance to see the sharp “adjustment” necessary to shore up the national finances and “plan ahead for the future”.


“People in their own household experience know that you can’t go on with a situation if your revenues are back to what you were earning in 2003 and that your spend is right up to date in 2010 terms.


“People know that is not a sustainable position,” he said.


Having built up a deficit equivalent to 32 percent of gross domestic product this year, Ireland is in talks to borrow about 85 billion euros (114 billion dollars) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.


Negotiations on the bailout are set to wrap up on Sunday, diplomatic sources in Brussels told AFP.


The international intervention to help Ireland has failed to remove doubts about its ability to stabilise its shattered finances.


That concern, and fears of contagion spreading to Portugal and the far larger Spanish economy, continued to hurt the euro, which was worth 1.3360 dollars at 0100 GMT.


Nor was the austerity plan enough to calm the bond markets: the yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds jumped to record highs above 9.0 percent as markets remained nervous.


The draconian austerity plan and a budget on December 7 are crucial steps to show Ireland’s fellow eurozone members that it is putting its finances in order.


The 15-billion-euro series of austerity measures include slashing 25,000 jobs, raising VAT, or sales tax, to 23 percent, and cutting the minimum wage.


Ireland has however managed to preserve its ultra-low 12.5 percent corporation tax rate, a key reason that foreign companies have invested there.


Economists supported Ireland’s tax stance.


“This will send out a clear statement that Ireland, despite its economic difficulties, is still very committed to incentivising the creation and maintenance of high value jobs,” Ernst and Young’s Kevin McLoughlin said.


The government’s decision to turn to the EU and IMF has enraged Cowen’s opponents, who accused him of humiliating the country.


The anger surfaced in the by-election in Donegal South West, a rural area of northwest Ireland where resentment towards the EU runs high. Polls opened at 0600 GMT and closed at 2200 GMT with the result set to be declared late Friday.


Turnout for the poll was expected to be well down on the 66 percent seen in the last election as mistrust in the political system convinced voters to stay at home.


In Donegal town, butcher Ernan McGettigan said he saw a grim future ahead.


“The way our country is going at the moment we will have to declare ourselves bankrupt.


“There are only four million people and we have incurred a debt of around 4,000 euros for every person.”


President Mary McAleese recognised the nation’s rage. “I want to acknowledge the understandable distress and dismay being experienced by people all around the country who feel fearful about their future,” she said.


Finance Minister Brian Lenihan acknowledged there was “no denying the reputational damage Ireland has endured” in the economic crisis.


But writing in the Financial Times, he argued that the country had the attributes to pick itself up and stressed that the country still ranked second in Europe for productivity.


“The government faces many challenges but we have the necessary support to pass the budget in December,” Lenihan insisted.

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Source: SGGP

Europe heads for Irish bank rescue

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 6:27 am

Irish pop star Ronan Keating to perform in Miss Earth 2010 pageant

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

New ash risk closes British, Irish airspace

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 8:36 am

LONDON, May 5, 2010 (AFP) – Britain and Ireland were closing parts of their airspace Wednesday after a fresh cloud of ash arrived from the Icelandic volcano that caused air travel chaos in Europe last month.


British regulators ordered an airspace shutdown over parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland from 7:00 am (0600 GMT) for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

Passengers wait at Belfast City Airport as flights are delayed due to volcanic ash in Northern Ireland, on May 4, 2010. AFP photo

“Forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufacturers have agreed are safe for operations,” said Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


“Unfortunately, this means that the CAA anticipates all Scottish and Northern Ireland airports will be closed from 07:00 local time (Wednesday).”


According to meteorologists, the cloud over Britain had “increased in density as ash emissions from the Icelandic volcano… have become stronger,” said the air watchdog in a statement.


Irish aviation chiefs meanwhile said restrictions would be introduced at some airports from 8:00 am (0700 GMT).


The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, which caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights and travel misery for thousands of passengers.


Airspace across Europe was closed for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.


The CAA said some Scottish airports, including Glasgow, would likely be closed for 12 hours until 7:00 pm (1800 GMT).


In Northern Ireland, Derry airport would shut down early Wednesday for 12 hours, and airports in Belfast would only close later in the day, said the air safety watchdog.


Other airports were also at risk of closure, including Edinburgh and some in the northwest of England, said the regulator.


But regulators did not indicate that the ash was an imminent threat to airports further south, including London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest air hub.


In Ireland, restrictions would be brought in from 8:00 am (0700 GMT) at airports in the northwest, followed by Dublin at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).


After a cloud from the Iceland volcano last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, ash once again grounded flights in British airspace late Monday.


Aviation chiefs grounded flights over the Outer Hebrides, a group of islands off Scotland’s northwest coast, before extending the flight ban to Northern Ireland for several hours early Tuesday.


The Irish Aviation Authority also grounded flights into and out of Ireland for several hours Tuesday.


Both air authorities cleared flights to resume from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), but new restrictions for Wednesday were announced just several hours later.


Tuesday’s airspace closures came on the same day European Union transport ministers met in Brussels to discuss last month’s shutdown as the new ash cloud hovered over Ireland.


A notable absence was Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey — unable to fly to the meeting because of the new ash cloud chaos.


Meanwhile Irish airline Aer Lingus said the flight ban last month had cost it about 20 million euros (26 million dollars), while warning that “the final cost will depend on the actual level of customer claims.”


The Association of British Insurers estimated Tuesday that the travel chaos caused by the ash had cost insurers around 62 million pounds (94 million dollars, 72 million euros).


Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic control co-ordinator, said more than 100,000 flights to, from and within Europe had been cancelled between April 15 and 21, preventing an estimated 10 million passengers from travelling.

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Source: SGGP

Sorensen ends 30-year Irish Slam drought

In Vietnam Sports on January 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

MELBOURNE, Jan 19, 2010 (AFP) – Qualifier Louk Sorensen became the first Irishman to compete in Grand Slam singles for 30 years on Tuesday, winning his opening round match at the Australian Open.


Sorensen, 25, defeated Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 on an outside court.


Tennis runs in the family with his father, Sean, the last Irishman to play in a Grand Slam singles at the 1980 Wimbledon. His dad lost to Australian tennis legend Rod Laver in the first round at Wimbledon in 1977.


“I’m feeling great, it’s the biggest achievement of my career so far, but let’s see how it goes in the next round,” Sorensen said.


The diminutive Irishman now takes on American serving giant John Isner.


“Anything that happens now and I win will be a bonus,” he said.


Sorensen, ranked 284 in the world, booked his place in the main draw when he downed New Zealander Daniel King-Turner in two sets during qualifying last Saturday.


He said the qualifying matches had given him an advantage playing Lu first up.


“I am used to the courts and the surface now and if you get through qualifying it’s an advantage, but now after the first round everyone’s got their playing rhythm sorted out,” he said.


Sorensen lives and is coached in Stuttgart, Germany, and only goes to Ireland to visit his parents in Dublin.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

City hosts photo exhibit honoring Irish writer

In Vietnam Culture on December 3, 2009 at 10:43 am

A photo exhibition featuring the life and career of Samuel Beckett, a renowned Irish writer, playwright and poet of the 20th century, is running at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities from December 1-11.








A picture of writer Samuel Beckett is on the display.

Beckett, (1906-1989), won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 for his descriptions of transcendental meaning in the lives of modern-day people living in poverty.


He is most famous for the play Waiting for Godot.


John Minihan, known for his photos of the Nobel laureate winning writer, is in HCM City to attend the Beckett exhibition.



 


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share