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Deep fury over rates secured on bailout deal

An overwhelming majority, 82 per cent, of Irish people want the next government to renegotiate the penal terms of the €85bn IMF/EU bailout, the latest Sunday Independent poll reveals.

As the General Election campaign begins in earnest, the public are also virtually united in their desire to see senior bondholders in the Irish banks burned.

The poll exposes the deep fury among the Irish people over the outgoing government's handling of the economic and financial crises.

The Sunday Independent/MillwardBrown Lansdowne poll conducted last Wednesday and Thursday reveals the public's clear desire for the high interest rates to be negotiated downward.

The public are clearly outraged that those European countries will borrow money at under 3 per cent and lend to us at over 6 per cent, and are demanding that an incoming government set about amending the terms.

Given that Ireland's interest rate repayments will top €10bn a year if the deal remains unaltered, the public's desire for lower interest rates is likely to be a major election platform for the opposition parties. Just 11 per cent of those polled said the next government shouldn't attempt to renegotiate the deal.

The public is also virtually unanimous in its desire for senior bondholders who gambled on banks during the boom to be burned. And 84 per cent said they favoured the proposal. Despite the clear desire of for the IMF deal and the bondholder arrangements to be renegotiated, a majority of those polled, 52 per cent, said such attempts were either quite unlikely or very unlikely to succeed.

A lesser majority, 57 per cent, said they supported Socialist MEP Joe Higgins's call for a referendum on the European Financial Stability mechanism, which funds our bailout. Interestingly, support for a referendum on the EU bailout is strongest among Sinn Fein voters and weakest among Fianna Fail supporters.

Elsewhere, in a major wake-up call to public sector unions and Eamon Gilmore's Labour Party, 69 per cent of those polled said the Croke Park deal guaranteeing all public sector jobs and pay for for years was "not realistic".

More interestingly, a clear majority, 60 per cent, say they agree that compulsory redundancies should be part of any reform of the public sector.

This finding shows that Mr Gilmore's previous reluctance to countenance such lay-offs is now at odds with the public opinion as well as his likely coalition partners Fine Gael, which stated previously that such losses were necessary.

Sunday Independent