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Figures that point to a grim future

COLD financial facts hold limited fascination for many people but the figures emerging this week about the Irish economy will determine everyone's quality of life for many years to come.

No-one can ignore the fact that it is now costing our Government two and a half times more in interest charges than the Germans, to borrow money for our day-to-day spending.

We may have had little knowledge about Government bonds in the past but this gap in interest rates is something that will dig deep into the pocket of every citizen for many years to come.

It will certainly take more than one or two hairshirt budgets to restore balance.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen suggesting this gap is normal "ebb and flow" of the markets holds absolutely no reassurance and is certainly of no comfort as we struggle to pay this increasing debt.