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Irish Lawmaker Lowry to Support Budget, Easing Way for Approval

Michael Lowry, an independent Irish lawmaker, said he’ll support the government’s budget for next year, paving the way for austerity measures to pass through parliament tomorrow.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen has the support of 82 lawmakers, including Lowry and fellow independent Jackie Healy-Rae, compared with 80 for the opposition. Healy-Rae will also back the measures, broadcaster RTE said today, without citing anyone.

“Our country is in grave economic danger,” Lowry said in an e-mailed statement today. “The consequences of not passing a budget would be disastrous for Ireland and its people.”

The government will lay out details tomorrow of 6 billion euros ($7.9 billion) of spending cuts and tax increases. Ireland won’t be able to draw down a 67-billion euro aid package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund unless the budget is passed, according to a copy of the agreement published last week. The government is also planning to add 17.5 billion on its own resources to the bailout.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan will present the 2011 budget in a speech in Dublin at 3:45 p.m. in Dublin tomorrow, with voting due to begin at about 7 p.m.

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