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Ireland bailout programme 'on track', says troika

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ireland is on course to receive a further 2.4 billion euros ($3.15 billion) in international bailout funds, after the so-called troika of the IMF, EU and the European Central Bank completed its 10th review of the economic situation.

Ireland has made "significant progress" in repairing its financial sector and restoring stability to its public finances but still needs to address stubbornly high unemployment, the troika of international creditors said.

"Ireland's programme remains on track, the gradual recovery is continuing and there have been further improvements in market conditions for the sovereign and the banks," it said.

The troika forecasts that Irish growth will be about one percent this year and just above two percent in 2014.

It noted however that further progress was required to ease the "unsustainable" debts of small and medium-sized companies, which was holding back job creation.

Completion of the review would lead to a further payment of 1.0 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund, and 1.0 billion euros from the ECB, with European Union member states expected to disburse a further 400 million euros through loans.

In 2010, Ireland was forced to accept an 85-billion-euro ($110 billion) rescue package from the EU and the IMF as a banking crisis and the bursting of a property bubble brought the economy close to collapse.

Ireland is often held up as as the 'poster child' of the bailed-out EU nations, because unlike Greece and Portugal its economy has returned to growth after the government introduced a raft of austerity measures.

The next review mission is scheduled for July.

In February, Prime Minister Enda Kenny predicted Ireland would exit the bailout programme "before the end of this year".

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130511/ireland-bailout-programme-track-says-troika