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Ireland steps towards EU-IMF bailout exit this year

Prime Minister Enda Kenny makes the announcement at the Fine Gael party's annual conference

The Republic of Ireland is moving towards exiting the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout scheme by 15 December.

At the Fine Gael party's annual conference in Limerick on Saturday, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said, "Tonight I can confirm that Ireland is on track to exit the EU/IMF bailout on December 15. And we won't go back. 

"It won't mean that our financial troubles are over. Yes, there are still fragile times ahead. There's still a long way to go. 

“But at last, the era of the bailout will be no more. The economic emergency will be over,” Kenny said. 

The country was forced to introduce major austerity measures and turn to the EU and IMF for an €85bn bailout in November 2010, following a property crash which left its banks under-capitalised.

Earlier this year, the eurozone ministers have given Ireland more time to repay its bailout loans.

Kenny said that the national budget for 2014 set to be unveiled on Tuesday would include tax rises and spending cuts worth €2.5bn, placing Ireland at a 4.8% deficit next year as well as help it reach bailout targets and create new jobs.

The government will publish a new medium term economic strategy by the end of 2013.

The eurozone finance ministers are due to discuss on progress in Ireland and eurozone countries at a meeting in Luxembourg today. 

Other countries that received financial support from the eurozone include Portugal, Cyprus and Greece.