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We went into the bailout bloodied, three years later we're coming out bruised

OUT of the bailout does not mean out of the woods. That's the gist of the latest warnings from Fitch. Progress is being made, but mortgages remain a major issue -- financially and socially.

Debt -- nationally, for the banks, and for homes -- remains high.

Looser rules for the banks means a major increase in home repossession is on the cards.

Fitch thinks the numbers involved will be high enough to add a significant volume of properties on to the markets -- helping keep prices low or even pushing them lower.

That may be so, though there is little evidence lenders are really gung-ho when it comes to seizing homes.

It is true that now that any remaining impediments have been removed there is no good reason why buy-to-let properties are not already being seized from defaulting landlords in big numbers -- other than banks own reluctance to realise losses.

But that is by no means a small thing, especially given how much they control the process.

Even aside from the mortgage crisis analysts say we face a decade at least with national debt stuck up at levels higher than anything seen in the 1990s.

Fitch thinks we will hit the target to cut the deficit to 3pc by 2015 -- as laid out under the old troika plan.

But the national debt is now a major issue. "High indebtedness and slow growth" is the new reality for the Irish economy as we exit the bailout, analyst Gergely Kiss warned.

None of this is really a huge surprise. We went into the bailout bloodied three years ago and we are coming out bruised.

Market watchers will see some of this as evidence that Fitch is sending a signal that coming out of the EU/IMF programme will not be a trigger for a ratings upgrade.

Analysts pointed out yesterday that when our debt rating was cut from its historic "A" status it made us an outlier in the euro area.

Today, Irelands rating of "BBB+" puts us almost mid table -- riskier than low debt German's but less so than Spain -- which never had a full bailout.

Irish Independent