By Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent, The GuardianÂ October 17, 2013
Ireland will leave the international bailout program run by Europe and the IMF on 15 December, the republicâ€™s prime minister has promised.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the country was now on course to â€œretrieve our economic sovereignty and independenceâ€.
The exit from the IMF/EU bailout will fulfill one of the key goals of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition since it came to power. The last Fianna FÃ¡il-led government had to go cap in hand to the IMF and the EU back in November 2010 to seek a multibillion euro rescue package and save the country from national bankruptcy.
Kenny told his Fine Gael partyâ€™s annual conference in Limerick on Saturday night: â€œThereâ€™s still a long way to go. But at last, the era of the bailout will be no-more. The economic emergency will be over. â€
Warning that there was still a long way to go to rebuild the Irish economy after the Celtic Tigerâ€™s collapse, Kenny said: â€œIreland is at long last on the road back to recovery and to work. Yes, our competitiveness has improved. We have 34,000 new jobs in the last year alone.â€
He said: â€œYes, there are too many people still out of work. Yes, there are too many people still leaving the country. But you know something, thereâ€™s a change happening.
â€œJob creation is now at its highest level in five years. The live-register number has fallen every month for 15 consecutive months. Thatâ€™s progress.
â€œBefore we came to office, Ireland was losing 7,000 jobs a month. Now weâ€™re creating 3,000 new jobs every month.â€
The Irish premier added: â€œAfter some disastrous years, confidence is gradually being restored. Despite a tough international environment, our economy has started to grow â€¦ Across the world, investors are watching Ireland and they like what they see.â€