Key dates in Ireland's fiscal battle

Following is a list of key dates and events coming up for Ireland as it battles to get its finances back in order.

NOV 18

A team from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank travel to Ireland to examine what measures may be needed if Dublin decides to seek aid. France's economy minister has said the review will likely take days, rather than months.

Nov 22-30 Irish Government to Publish Fiscal Plan

The government has said it hopes to publish its plan next week showing how it will make 15 billion euros of cuts over four years with significant front loading of the measures coming in the first year. It has promised to unveil the plan by the end of the month but markets want it to be revealed earlier.

Nov 25 Irish Parliamentary by-Election

The outcome will be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the government and its policies. The government cannot lose its majority, but defeat would cut it to just two seats and could dent markets' confidence that the government will deliver on its fiscal adjustment plans.

Dec 2 ECB Decisions on Lending Support Measures

Juergen Stark said on November 11 that the ECB will press ahead with scaling back its support. It is expected to take away the option banks have to borrow as much as three-month funding from it. It is expected to keep unrestricted 1-week loans on offer, however.

Dec 7 2011 Budget

Any immediate tax changes (e.g. VAT) would require a parliamentary vote; if it didn't pass it would effectively be a vote of no confidence in the government, triggering an election.

Dec 16-17 European Council Meeting/Default Mechanism Plans Due

The draft plans for the German-led 'orderly' sovereign restructuring regime are due to be revealed. The recent intensification of the debt crisis has raised questions what the proposal will look like.

Dec 23 2010 Euro ECB Loan Repayment Deadline

Euro zone banks have to pay back or reborrow over 200 billion euros as the expiry of the ECB's final 12-month loan coincides with the repayment of 104 billion euros taken in a 3 month operation back in September. Irish banks are currently borrowing a quarter of all money the ECB has lent.

Early 2011 Irish Social Welfare Bill/Finance Bill

The Irish parliament will face a vote on the Social Welfare and Finance Bills in the first half of next year to legislate for tax and welfare changes announced in December. As with the Budget vote, if it is lost it would be a vote of no confidence for the government and trigger an election. Analysts believe the government will struggle to survive either of these votes.

[Source: Reuters, Dublin, 18Nov10]

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