EU officials say details of Ireland’s multi-billion euro bailout plan will be announced next week. The Irish government is due to finalise its four-year economic plan.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen has rejected calls for him to resign. Ireland’s banking chief has acknowledged the country needs a loan of tens of billions of euros to shore up its crippled banks.
One opposition leader described recent events as the “blackest week in Irish history since the Civil War”.
But some experts see the looming rescue package as a solution.
“Actually I think this week is good news,” says Economics professor Philip Lane at Trinity College Dublin. “Clearly the government and the banking sector is under stress and this is the way to find the answer, receiving some assistance from our European partners.”
But the crisis has dented Irish pride, and even among the country’s elite students in Dublin, there is pessimism over their own futures.
“It’s quite scary at the moment, I am not sure what is going to happen once I graduate. There is not a lot going on that I know of. There are no great employment prospects,” said Alin Lavita, studying history at Trinity College.
Neil Warner, a 21-year-old history and politics student, said:
“I really don’t see how people who finish college in the next couple of years are going to have a realistic chance of a career for the next 10 years in Ireland”
The Irish government is resisting calls to raise its low corporation tax. Some other EU countries argue it gives Ireland an unfair advantage in attracting investment.
The US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he is optimistic that a bailout could end Europe’s debt crisis.
But a survey of bankers at a congress in Frankfurt showed nearly three quarters believed the turmoil would rage on even after the Irish rescue, threatening other financially weak countries in the euro zone.