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Heard the one about the Englishman who thought we should run our economy like they do in Ireland? WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?

Byline: VINCENT MOSS

GEORGE Osborne once praised Ireland's battered economy as a MIRACLE from which Britain should learn.

The gaffe, which will raise fresh questions over the Chancellor's judgment, emerges as the debt-ridden Republic waits for an emergency bail-out of up to pounds 85billion.

When he was Shadow Chancellor Mr Osborne wrote an article calling Ireland a "shining example" of how to do business and urged the deregulation of Britain's financial services to help us copy the success of the "Celtic Tiger".

He praised the "simple and effective approach" that had lured major employers such as Intel, Oracle and Apple to Dublin instead of London.

And he attacked then-Chancellor Gordon Brown for failing to ask why Britain seemed to be losing out. In the article for The Times newspaper four years ago, he wrote: "They have much to teach us, if only we are willing to learn."

Ireland's problems come after a rapid expansion in its economy - fuelled by its banks' risky lending - left it overexposed to the global financial crisis.

Last night Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson seized on Mr Osborne's words, saying: "His judgment calls on all the key issues at the time were wrong. In government he is cutting too deeply too quickly and risking the economic recovery."

The Chancellor admitted last week that Britain could be forced to help bail out the Republic. British banks had pounds 140billion tied up in Irish ones earlier this year, with taxpayer-controlled RBS and Lloyds holding outstanding loans to the Republic of more than pounds 80billion in total.

The bail-out, led by the International Monetary Fund and the EU, will see Ireland forced to raise business taxes and make at least pounds 12billion of spending cuts.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 21, 2010
Words:288
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