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Irish Ambassador to Discuss His Country's Economy Tuesday at U.Va.

March 29, 2012 — Ireland's ambassador to the United States, Michael Collins, will discuss his country's weakened economy and the European Union's financial crisis Tuesday at the University of Virginia.

Collins will speak at 2 p.m. in the Dome Room of the Rotunda. The event is free and open to the public.

Ireland's economy entered into recession in 2008, due in part to bad bank loans in the property sector, where housing prices were greatly inflated. Huge unemployment followed the crisis and two years later, the Irish government requested economic assistance from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, in part to help refund the country's banks.

Ireland was the first Eurozone member to enter into crisis. Greece and Portugal have also been wracked by government debt, resulting in the need for bailout money from the EU and the IMF.

Speaking at a business meeting in Shanghai earlier this week, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny gave an upbeat report on his country's economy. "Ireland's economy has improved in the recent past, our public finances have been stabilized, our exports are at record levels, and foreign direct investment into our country is booming," he said.

Collins is taking part in the University's Ambassadors' Speaker Forum, which is sponsored by U.Va.'s Center for International Studies.

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