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    Ireland unveils four-year recovery plan


    by ODN


    The Irish government has unveiled a four-year plan of spending cuts and tax hikes to meet the terms of an EU/IMF rescue package.

    The plan includes thousands of public sector job cuts, phased-in increases in Ireland's VAT rate from 2013 and social welfare savings of 2.8 billion euros by 2014.

    Addressing a news conference in Dublin, the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, said: "It's to bring certainty for our people, to ensure that they have hope for the future, to let them know that while we have a challenging time ahead, we can and we will pull through as we have in the past.

    "The crisis which has come to Ireland and which we are dealing with since the middle of 2008, and which now we need to set out in further detail as to how we deal with it between now and 2014, is similar in some respects to other crises in other countries at other times.

    "And those countries came through that crisis, they came through those problems."

    The austerity plan is a condition for an EU/IMF rescue package for a country long feted as a model of economic development that has become the latest casualty in the 16-nation common currency bloc's emergency ward.

    The British government has said it is willing to lend billions of pounds as part of the bailout.