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Understanding the Irish economic crisis

Posted by Rob Anderson  November 23, 2010 10:47 AM

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euro.gifThe editorial board weighed in on the Irish economic crisis today and urged Irish officials to take steps that will minimize the effects of the crisis here in Boston. "Government regulators in Dublin, who are now making the decisions on mortgages held by Anglo Irish [Bank], should take note and refrain from trying to raise cash by foreclosing on the many healthy real estate loans here in the Commonwealth."

For readers here in the US who may not fully understand the crisis, the BBC has published a Q&A and interactive graphic, part of which you can see above, that do a great job explaining what's happening and why. The gist:

Hailed as the "Celtic Tiger" for the rapid growth of its economy, in the space of three years the Irish Republic has gone from boom to almost bust.

Much of its growth was built around the property market, but since 2008 this has suffered a dramatic collapse.

House values have fallen by between 50% and 60%, and bad debts - mainly in the form of loans to developers - have built up in the country's main banks. This almost wrecked the institutions, leaving them needing bailing out by the government at a cost of 45bn euros (£39bn; $60.1bn).

This has opened a huge hole in the Irish government's finances - which will see it run a budget deficit equivalent to 32% of GDP this year.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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