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Bond auction successful for Irish gov't

An Irish flag being waved in the air

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: Ireland is in economic trouble, but today the country passed a crucial test. The government had a bond sale and it ended up raising $2 billion from optimistic investors.

Here's the BBC's Jon Bithrey reports.


JON BITHREY: Ireland is trying to avoid a Greek style debt crisis -- after bailing out its banks and just about surviving a property crash. So analysts are relieved at the success of the bond auction -- after growing concern that the IMF may need to step in.

Austin Hughes is chief economist at KBC Ireland.

AUSTIN HUGHES: I think it's understandable that investors are unconvinced because of concerns about the general growth outlook and because of the escalating costs of the bank bailout.

And this uncertainty means lenders were willing to make loans, but at a higher interest rate. Meantime the pressure on the government to get things right is intensifying. The Irish leader Brian Cowen had to apologize for an embarrassing early morning radio interview.

BRIAN COWEN: What I've been emphasizing, what we've all been emphasizing, is the strength of our economy, what's the basis on which we can grow and recover.

Critics accused him of being somewhere between drunk and hungover, but while the prime minister admits it "wasn't his best interview," he blames the gravelly voice and slurred words on a late night.

In London, I'm the BBC's Jon Bithrey for Marketplace.

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