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Bailout is his legacy, says 'Snip' economist

BERTIE Ahern's legacy is that Ireland became one of very few European countries to have ended up in an IMF bailout, UCD economist Colm McCarthy has said.

The 'An Bord Snip' economist points the finger of blame squarely at the former Taoiseach for our loss of credit-worthiness and the fact that the very legitimacy of the State has been compromised in the eyes of its citizens.

In an opinion piece in the latest edition of the 'Irish Farmers' Journal', Mr McCarthy writes: "That it should have happened to Ireland, after a decade of self-congratulation when a genuine base of economic achievement was there to be built upon, is the real legacy of the Ahern era."

He also notes that reality was not finally faced until Ahern "departed the scene".

Despite the efforts of Government to deal with the crisis, the strategy embarked on since then has not been "crowned with success", Mr McCarthy writes, although he does offer a kind word to the Finance Minister, arguing that "Brian Lenihan deserves credit, which in the way of politics, he may not get, for facing the music on budgetary austerity".

He also said: "If the next government plans to do no more than wrestle bravely with the legacy of the last, the election may as well be cancelled."

Irish Independent