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2011 OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2011

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Ireland 2011

OECD's  2011 Economic Survey of Ireland examiens restoring fiscal sustainability, overcoming the banking crises and structural reforms to reduce unemployment and restore competitiveness.

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Overcoming the banking crisis

Ireland is recovering from an extremely large banking crisis born of overexuberant property lending. The government has taken a wide range of measures to tackle the crisis over the past 3 years. Larger bad property loans have been transferred to a government controlled “bad bank”, NAMA, and the associated heavy losses fully recognised by the banks. NAMA needs to focus on maximising tax payer returns from disposing of this asset portfolio. The banking system was recapitalised in mid 2011 following stringent bank “stress tests”, which proved to be a crucial turning point in the crisis by helping to draw a line under losses. Restructuring of the domestic banking system around two core pillar banks is underway but the domestic banking system is still too large. Selling down the banks’ large portfolio of foreign assets will help to downsize the banks. It will assist in reducing reliance on eurosystem liquidity while minimising the squeeze on domestic credit. As confidence in the financial system is regained, the authorities should further restrict the government guarantee of bank liabilities. Revamped bank regulation and supervision should utilise a wider set of indicators and rules beyond standard capital ratios and pay greater attention to macro-financial linkages.

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