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Still deep in the woods

November 9, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Bail-out bosses have warned everyone must “take their share of pain” if Ireland is to make a financial recovery.

In their latest progress report on the state of the country’s finances, the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank shone the spotlight on the “sheltered” legal, medical and pharmacy industries and accused them of remaining too expensive.

They also warned about a “lost generation” in youth unemployment unless the government created more jobs.

Istvan Szekely, European Commission director of economic and financial affairs, said Ireland was not yet out of the woods.

“Real progress is being made and all targets under the rescue deal have been met but a lot of sacrifice from everybody in Ireland is needed to remain on track and pull the country out.

“Exports and manufacturing are performing outstandingly well and driving growth but medical, pharmacy and legal services need to slash their prices.”

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the government was working with the lending organizations on the possibility of using money from the sale of state assets to fund job creation programs.

One state asset that might be on the block is the state’s 25 stake in Aer Lingus which received a boost in value last week as the airline reported positive third quarter earnings that came down to an operating profit of €94.6 million, an increase of 19.4 percent on the same period in 2010.

The figures came in despite increases in fuel costs and airport charges. The airline’s share price rose by 7.5 percent as a result of the positive numbers which included a long haul passenger revenue increase of 2.6 percent for the three month period.

For the most part, “long haul” refers to transatlantic services.

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