24 Nov 2010

Pressure on Irish PM to quit

9:29 pm on 24 November 2010

Calls are mounting for Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to quit over the country's bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Cowen has phoned opposition leaders in what is seen as a bid to win support for delaying an election until a budget is passed next month. It is due to be announced on 7 December.

He announced on Monday that an election would be held next year.

But the opposition is said to want a poll now and one party, Sinn Fein, has tabled a no-confidence vote.

Mr Cowen's coalition government was in disarray on Tuesday after the Green Party withdrew its support and called for an election.

On Sunday, EU member states and the IMF agreed to provide loans of up to 90 billion euros in an attempt to bring an end to the crisis surrounding the Irish Republic's debts.

The BBC reports the crisis in the Irish Republic was brought on by the global recession and almost total collapse of the country's banks.

Once known as the 'Celtic Tiger' for its strong economic growth - helped by low corporate tax rates - the country experienced a property bubble burst, leaving its banks with huge liabilities and pushing up the cost of borrowing for them and the government.