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Ireland fears civil unrest as bank crisis deepens

Henry McDonald in Dublin and Andrew Clark
London Guardian
Nov 21, 2010

One of Ireland’s biggest trade unions warned today that the nation was on the brink of civil unrest as government officials negotiated a multibillion euro bailout for the country’s ailing banks.

The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union said further “draconian” public sector cuts of €15bn (£13bn) over four years could lead to street disorder. It urged a campaign of civil disobedience unless the taoiseach, Brian Cowen, calls an immediate election. An emergency cabinet tomorrow will discuss the new round of cuts.

“When the measures being proposed are heaped on top of the €14.5bn cuts already implemented in the last three brutal budgets, life in Ireland will be unbearable,” said the TEEU leader, Eamon Devoy. A group of 16 officials from the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are staying in Dublin’s luxury Merrion hotel, holding talks throughout the weekend with the Irish government and Ireland’s central bank. Financial sources told the Observer that a strategy could be announced as soon as Monday to stabilise Ireland’s banks.

A first priority is to restore confidence and halt an outflow of cash – Anglo Irish Banks revealed on Friday that customers have withdrawn €13bn of deposits this year. Measures under consideration include hiving off rotten loans into a freestanding “bad bank”.

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