New forecasts from the Central Bank, which indicate that property prices will fall by even more than had previously been expected, highlight the need for a deal between the Government and the EU/ECB/IMF troika on Irish bank debt.
With the latest CSO figures showing that the Irish economy shrank by a further 2.2pc in 2011, the fourth successive year in which the economy has shrunk, it is now clear that Ireland will be unable to return to the bond markets unless and until a realistic deal is hammered out on bank debt.
The Government currently puts the cost of bailing out the banks at €64bn.
However, rapidly rising levels of mortgage defaults and losses on tracker mortgages could add tens of billions more to this figure.
This means that only a comprehensive deal, based upon realistic loan loss projections, on Ireland's bank debt can put this country back on the road to recovery.