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Some positive news about the debt crisis

THE IMF has given Ireland a glowing report card and described the country as "exemplary" for the measures it has taken to deal with the crisis.

The fund pressed the Government not to cut much more out of the economy in the Budget.

However, the IMF said that Ireland was swimming against the tide when it came to effects of the global slowdown as growth was so dependent on exports.

Antonio Borges, the IMF's European head, said that additional measures in terms of cuts would have to be taken if the global economy deteriorated.



PAINFUL

Describing the Irish economy's performance as "surprisingly positive", Mr Borges said the Government's accelerating of the EU/IMF programme was positive.

Mr Borges praised the steps taken to recover competitiveness, "in particular through wage reduction across the board, which must have been very painful but which delivered the right results in terms of a much better export performance".

However, because all the growth was export orientated, a slowdown in growth and particularly a major recession in Europe would be particularly damaging for Ireland, he said.

The Government has said it will make a final decision on whether to increase the planned €3.6bn cuts to €4bn until it sees how the economy performs.