Ireland braced for budget vote as investors baulk

IRELAND is braced for a crucial vote on its 2011 budget today.

Embattled Prime Minister Brian Cowen is clinging to the hope that he can pass the budget by the narrowest of margins.

His government, which is almost certain to lose a general election scheduled for early next year, has a majority of just three seats, with a number of its own MPs expressing concerns about the depth of the austerity cuts.

However, the pressure is less intense now Ireland has already agreed to the €85bn (£72bn) EU rescue package.

Meanwhile, US private equity boss Christopher Flowers said Ireland could struggle to attract the necessary level of investment to its troubled banks. He said an investor would need to be “pretty brave” to move in now. Ireland hopes a “credit enhancement” scheme will help to reassure investors.