Dail to vote on 85bn euro bail-out rescue package

Image caption,
The Irish prime minister has come under increasing pressure to call an election

The Irish parliament is to vote on Wednesday as TDs debate the 85 billion euro (£72bn) EU bail-out package.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)/EU rescue package is designed to end the two-year banking crisis.

The coalition is expected to carry the motion with the backing of three independent TDs, Jackie Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry and Joe Behan.

Opposition parties are expected to vote against the deal after the debate, with Fine Gael claiming it is a bad deal.

The opposition parties have stressed that they think the interest repayments are too high.

Ireland's debt management agency (NMTA) has said the average interest rate on the rescue funds is 5.82%.

The Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is expected to get the 85 billion euro rescue package through the lower chamber.

Both Fine Gael and and Labour have criticised Mr Cowen for seeking external funds, and have said the deal was a "humiliating loss of sovereignty".

The two parties have said they will renegotiate the package when they come to power, as is expected after an election in February or March, but the reality is that they will have to work within its targets or risk losing funding.

There will be a two-hour debate on the bail-out package before a vote at about 1330 GMT.

If the vote goes in favour of accepting the package, the IMF will be in a position to approve its 22.5 billion euro (£19bn) portion of the bailout on Thursday.

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