Irish Lawmakers OK $90B Bailout—Barely
Despite cries from opposition, motion passes 81-75
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2010 9:59 AM CST
Protesters hold a demonstration outside Leinster House, Dublin, Ireland, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(Newser) – Irish lawmakers have voted to take the $90 billion international bailout fund, an emergency measure designed to keep Europe's debt crisis from getting worse. Prime Minister Brian Cowen won today's motion on an 81-75 vote. He argued that Ireland had no choice but to take loans from the European Union and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund at interest rates averaging 5.8% because borrowing from bond investors would cost much more.

Cowen said it would be "unrealistic and unachievable" to reopen negotiations on last month's bailout in hopes of winning a loan discount. Ireland faces a 2010 deficit of 32% of gross domestic product, a post-war European record that includes the exceptional cost of bailing out five Dublin banks. Earlier, Irish opposition leaders decried the bailout as punitively expensive and accused the country's EU partners of seeking to profit from Ireland's pain with the 5.8% rate.