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IMF to Have First Ireland Review in February, Spokeswoman Says

The International Monetary Fund will conduct its first review of Ireland’s aid program in February and will then consider the impact of any changes in government, IMF spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson said today.

At a press briefing in Washington, Atkinson was asked about upcoming elections in Ireland and calls from opposition parties to renegotiate the aid package to allow for more government spending on economic stimulus measures and potential losses to senior bondholders.

“I think that it makes more sense to think about what whoever is in power has as a policy once that has happened than to speculate in advance how it might be,” Atkinson said. She said there will be “frequent reviews during the course of the program to discuss issues with the authorities.”

Atkinson also said the Washington-based lender is monitoring recent rises in commodity prices. The IMF will be tracking whether these increases are due to economic growth or to shocks that could damage the recovery or hurt poor countries disproportionately, she said.

“We are certainly watching this, the oil price increase and indeed the food price increases that have occurred recently are an important concern,” Atkinson said.

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