IMF expert warns Ireland to ‘seek bailout now’

Harry Leech and Nick Webb

A FORMER chief economist at the IMF has warned that Brian Lenihan must immediately ask the IMF for a bailout or risk bankrupting the Irish state.

Simon Johnson, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers, has a stark message for the Irish Government.

“For the sake of the Irish people, it’s time to go to the IMF. If you go in now and if you go in with your partners, you will get a good deal. You may not get such a good deal next week. It would have been a much better deal if they’d gone in February because Ireland wouldn’t have had to go through all this discretionary tightening along the route.”

While he agreed with the Governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan that the IMF might not change the policies already being implemented by the Government, he warned that this situation would not last.

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