“Irish Life & Permanent shares tumble as State ownership nears,” headlines the Irish Times. Ahead of the 31 March series of Central Bank stress tests, the financial services provider’s share value dived 45 per cent after reports emerged that nationalisation was inevitable. “This would give the State an interest in all six Irish financial institutions and mark the virtual nationalisation of the Irish banking system,” the Dublin daily notes, adding that the bailout should cost between €2 billion and €3 billion. According to the Guardian’s Ireland blog a total of €46bn has already been pumped into Irish banks. The stress tests, it continues, could reveal another black hole of between €18bn and €23bn. In terms of population, it would be as if France, with 60 million inhabitants, as opposed to Ireland’s 4.5 million, needed almost a trillion euros in public money to keep its banks afloat.
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