By Simon Miller

Ireland should receive credit for taking the hit in preventing a European banking crisis according to a government minister.

Communications minister Pat Rabbitte told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the country deserved recognition from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the rest of the Troika in taking the flack which many, especially in Ireland, believe provided the shield against the eurozone crisis spreading even further.

Rabbitte commented: “The ECB in particular has not yet come out in public to acknowledge that Ireland took a hit in order to prevent the contagion in the European banking system and that we deserve some recognition for that."

With talks continuing with the Troika over Ireland's bailout conditions, he added that there would be some further progress to add to the changes that have already been agreed.

The governmnet is under pressure because of its austerity measures and is also facing a referendum over the fiscal pact which academics and union members warn could put Ireland permanently on the austerity path as it placed limits on how much a country can borrow in proportion to its revenue.

Speaking at the Committee on European Affairs yesterday, Professor Terrence McDonough of the school of business and economics at NUI Galway warned that it was a dangerous experiment that would be "extrememly painful" and was "completley without precedent".

He added: “If the Irish people are against permanent austerity they should reject this treaty.”

While Unite research officer Michael Taft said that the treatry may not necessarily mean permanent austerity "it would feel like it for a generation".

The Irish go to referendum on 31 May and is the only signatory of the Fiscal Pact to do so.

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