Ireland exits bailout with last tranche of IMF aid

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:50pm GMT

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan smiles at the start of a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan smiles at the start of a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels December 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund disbursed Ireland's last aid tranche on Friday, as the country became the first euro zone member to successfully exit its international bailout.

Ireland on Friday received $890 million from the IMF, one of a trio of lenders that oversaw Dublin's 85 billion euro ($117 billion) bailout, needed after its biggest banks collapsed in 2010.

Ireland has cut spending and raised taxes to rebalance the economy since seeking emergency help, meeting every major target and enduring little public unrest.

It has also managed to fund itself into 2015 thanks to debt issuance over the last 18 months.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised Dublin's "steadfast policy implementation," but said the economy still faces challenges, including unemployment, heavy public sector debt and the sustainability of public debt.

"Continued concerted policy implementation is therefore necessary for Ireland to recover fully from the crisis," she said in a statement.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov, editing by G Crosse)

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