No champagne for Ireland until unemployment falls - IMF

Reuters

KENMARE (Reuters) - Ireland has come to grips with its banking problems but it will not be able to "pop the champagne" until its unemployment rate starts to come down, a senior official with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Saturday.

"Unemployment is still very, very high ... until unemployment also starts to come down, we shouldn't start to pop the champagne," Ajai Chopra, the deputy director of the IMF's European Department, told an economic conference in the small Irish town of Kenmare.

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Ireland's unemployment rate is over 14 percent compared to 4.6 percent in 2007 before a property bubble burst and the economy was brought to its knees.

Chopra is in Ireland for the latest quarterly review of Ireland's 85 billion euro ($117.9 billion) EU-IMF bailout. The outcome of that review, conducted by officials from the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, will be known late next week.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Carmel Crimmins)