No surprises, to be honest, but leading International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are heaping pressure on Ireland to take tough and dramatic action to sort out the economic mess we’re in. Thus, asked about Ireland’s fate in a Press Briefing on the World Economic Outlook, Olivier Blanchard, Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF Research Department, said, “there is really no choice than [for Ireland] to do fairly dramatic things”. He continued by saying that markets are “demanding a downpayment” and that the IMF supports “the tough fiscal consolidation measures that the government is taking.”

There’s already been some pretty tough and dramatic action taken by the Irish government, not least trying to transfer private debts onto the citizenry as a whole; and then there are the various cutbacks, some of which have been pretty vicious, and many others that have blatantly targeted those who really should not be paying for this crisis. So what else does the IMF have in mind? Public sector pay cuts must be on the agenda. And if the Irish government isn’t thinking about it, there should be no question that the IMF is.

Alistair Fraser