- POSTED: 18 Dec 2013 01:59
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Ireland, fresh from becoming the first eurozone nation to exit an international bailout, promised a "job-rich recovery" and a "fairer" society on Tuesday as the government outlined plans for growth.
DUBLIN: Ireland, fresh from becoming the first eurozone nation to exit an international bailout, promised a "job-rich recovery" and a "fairer" society on Tuesday as the government outlined plans for growth.
The nation had emerged on Sunday from a huge rescue programme which was funded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU), with its economy showing signs of recovery amid modest growth and falling unemployment.
As a condition of the 85-billion-euro ($117-billion) bailout, Dublin accepted tough measures insisted upon by the EU and IMF, including spending cuts, tax rises and structural reforms.
"The government's purpose is to ensure a job-rich recovery and to set Ireland on the path to sustainable prosperity," it said in a document outlining medium-term growth plans for up to the end of the decade.
"This will enable the building of a fairer Ireland by helping to reduce inequality and improve poverty outcomes across society, with a particular emphasis on child poverty."
Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny pledged that "all 330,000 jobs lost during (the) economic crisis between 2008 and 2011 will be replaced with new jobs".
Irish unemployment remains stubbornly high with 12.5 per cent of the workforce claiming benefits last month despite a drop in recent months.
Amid a banking meltdown, Ireland turned to the EU and IMF in late 2010 for massive funding. Dublin has pumped banks with 64 billion euros of taxpayers' money since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Speaking on Monday, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi warned that "outstanding issues" over the health of Ireland's banking sector required "swift and decisive action".
On Sunday, Kenny said that the country would never return to a culture of "speculation and greed" as it formally exited its bailout.