Irish vote on tough austerity measures to trim budget

Brian Cowen

The Irish parliament must vote on the austerity measures proposed by the government, led by Prime Minister Brian Cowen, left. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Irish vote on the country’s austerity measures is being closely watched. The Republic of Ireland is receiving a bundle of bailout loans, similar to Greece, and austerity measures have to be implemented. The aim is to free up several billion euros.

Irish vote on cuts of billions of euros

The Irish budget vote is being closely watched, as the parliament of Ireland has taken on the grim task of voting on further austerity measures, according to the New York Times. Irish austerity measures have to be introduced for the Republic of Ireland to receive a direly needed financial aid package, though that isn’t an official condition. If the budget cuts are sufficient to meet standards, Ireland stands to receive an aid package of about 85 billion euros. The goal of the austerity measures is to cut 6 billion euros from next year’s budget, part of an overall goal of cutting 15 billion euros over 2011 to 2013. Having to cut government spending is not popular with the voting public, but doing nothing is often worse.

Successive years of austerity cuts

The ongoing Irish vote is the third year of austerity measures being introduced in the Emerald Isle, according to The Telegraph. To top it all off, Prime Minister Brian Cowen will have to call for a new election as soon as the budget is passed. Of the 85 billion euros to be cut, 67.5 billion is from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The Irish government has withdrawn 17.5 billion euros from its own pension fund, similar to the Social Security trust fund for the United States. Most of the cuts will be slashing the pay of public sector workers. The Prime Minister will be taking a pay cut of about 14,000 euros per year.

Austerity measures unpopular

Austerity measures rarely make a government popular with the people, and the huge bailouts the Irish government made, similar to those in the United States and elsewhere, created a lot of public resentment toward the government.

Sources

New York Times

The Telegraph

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