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Irish economy in freefall

Despite comments to the contrary by the Irish government, the Irish economy would appear to be in freefall with startling figures showing a 7.5% reduction in the size of the economy towards the end of last year. While the fall in GDP for the whole of 2008 was a much lower 2.3%, there are serious concerns that short-term weakness and a lack of consumer spending could push the economy deeper and deeper into recession.

It is difficult to imagine this is the same economy which was being put forward as a marker for everybody else to follow as governments around the world tried to refloat their economies just a few months ago. But the last few weeks have seen a substantial turnaround with serious issues arising in the Irish banking sector including an alleged fraud and the nationalisation of a major Irish banking group.

As well as consumer spending showing signs of a severe reduction in the short to medium term, there has also been a sharp fall in industrial output which does not bode well for the future. There have been rumours for some time that the Irish government has made contingency plans with the likes of the IMF but these have been refuted on a regular basis. But how long can the Irish government really hang on?

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