Chief Correspondent, Romania/Bulgaria
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Mar 13, 2014

Irish economy posts shock decline after record debt sale

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s economy contracted by a shock 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter, data showed on Thursday, denting a recovery that picked up steam elsewhere as the country made a successful return to regular bond auctions and sold at record-low yields.

Ireland raised 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) from 10-year debt in its first auction since September 2010 – before it was locked out of bond markets and hurtled towards an EU/IMF bailout after a property crash led to a deep recession and austerity.

Mar 10, 2014

Chiquita and Fyffes merge to make world’s biggest banana firm

DUBLIN, March 10 (Reuters) – U.S. fruit firm Chiquita Brands
and Irish rival Fyffes, Europe’s largest distributor, have
struck an all-stock merger deal to create the world’s biggest
banana supplier.

The global banana market is controlled by four
multinationals, according to the United Nations: Chiquita
, Fresh Del Monte, Hawaii-founded Dole Food
Company and Fyffes. With this $526 million deal the new
firm, ChiquitaFyffes, will grab about 14 percent market share
and $4.6 billion in annual revenues.

Mar 5, 2014

Irish jobless falls to lowest in nearly five years

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s jobless rate fell to its lowest in nearly five years in February, dropping below 12 percent for the first time since April 2009 in a further sign the battered economy is picking up steam.

Ireland was the first euro zone state to complete a bailout and its improving economic data and successful return to bond markets are being held up by the European Union as an example of austerity rebalancing an economy.

Feb 19, 2014

Bailout behind it, Ireland and its people still face long slog

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is the first euro zone country to emerge from a bailout brought on by unsustainable debt, but the long slog of cutting back what it owes is only just starting for its 4.6 million austerity-hit people.

How its succeeds or fails in this will be a guide to how easily other heavily indebted states such as Portugal and Greece will be able to ease up on austerity as they strive to escape from their own bailout programs.

Feb 11, 2014

Ireland worries over British votes on EU, Scotland

DUBLIN, Feb 11 (Reuters) – A planned British referendum on
leaving the European Union is worrying its near neighbour
Ireland because of their close trade ties and the possible
impact it could have on the bloc.

British premier David Cameron wants to renegotiate Britain’s
EU ties and offer a referendum on membership if his
Conservatives retain power after an election next year. The
prospect is unsettling for Ireland, a country of 4.6 million
that won independence from London in 1922.

Feb 11, 2014

Ireland confident banks don’t need more capital

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is confident its battered banks will pass European Union stress tests later this year and will not require any extra capital, its Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Tuesday.

But it is also still holding out for European help in recapitalizing its banks, arguing that it took a hit on behalf of Europe when it rescued the lenders, Noonan said at the Reuters Euro Zone Summit, a series of interviews with top policymakers across the region.

Feb 11, 2014

Ireland attracts Asian, MidEast investors after bailout

DUBLIN (Reuters) – There is growing interest in Ireland’s debt from investors in the Middle East and Asia as it prepares to outline a series of auctions to raise funds for 2015, the head of its debt agency said on Tuesday.

Ireland, the first euro zone country to exit an EU/IMF bailout, made a strong return to bond markets with a 10-year issue last month and got a further boost when Moody’s restored its investment grade credit rating.

Jan 30, 2014

Joyce on your iPad – bringing “The Dead” to life

DUBLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) – “Snow was general all over
Ireland,” the noted Irish stage actor Barry McGovern intones
while reading the famous line from James Joyce’s “The Dead” in a
free app for iPads that seeks to bring the heart-rending story
to life for the high-tech age.

In some quarters technology is seen as the death-knell of
literature, but the Joyce app developed by University College
Dublin (UCD) is a runaway hit. It was downloaded 5,000 times in
48 hours – five times the sales of Ireland’s best-selling work
of fiction that week, Donal Ryan’s “The Spinning Heart”.

Jan 28, 2014

Ireland failed to protect schoolgirl from abuse, European court finds

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland failed to protect a schoolgirl from sexual abuse by her teacher in the 1970s, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday in a further blow to the reputation of the Catholic church.

The court ordered Ireland to pay compensation to Louise O’Keeffe, who had won her case in an Irish court against a lay teacher who abused her when she was nine, but had her claim that the state was vicariously liable for the 1973 assaults dismissed.

Dec 20, 2013

Ireland’s NAMA says allegations of wrongdoing unfounded

DUBLIN, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Allegations of wrongdoing at
Ireland’s state-owned National Asset Management Agency (NAMA)
property fund are unfounded and it will robustly address any
formal complaints if they are brought, its chief executive said
on Friday.

NAMA, the country’s so-called “bad bank”, is one of the
world’s largest property groups and has purged Irish banks of
risky loans worth 74 billion euros following a property crash
that pushed the country into a bailout three years ago.

    • About Sam

      "I have been a reporter since 2001 and am currently Reuters bureau chief for Romania and Bulgaria. Based in Bucharest, I lead two teams covering politics, economics, companies, culture and sports. I was previously in Switzerland and London, covering topics from healthcare and the UN to oil markets and bank meltdowns."
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