Conor McMorrow
Irish Tribune
November 15, 2010

In December 2008, the Latvian government was forced to seek an IMF bailout when it could not raise short-term funds. The payback, however, was immense. If Ireland needs similar help, stringent cuts across the board would be inevitable.

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Last week, the Sunday Tribune spoke to a number of Latvian journalists about that bailout and how it has affected their country over the past two years.

Known as the ‘Baltic Tiger’, Latvia’s economy grew by 50% between 2004 and 2007. Not unlike Ireland, much of the country’s growth was generated by a credit-fuelled property bubble.

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Paul Raudseps, economics editor of the Latvian weekly news magazine Ir, recalled: “We had a huge real estate bubble and we were importing more and exporting less. We were borrowing to pay for that deficit and then the global financial crisis hit.”

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