Bruton: election helped prevent mass protests

The Minister for Jobs believes Irish people did not take to the streets to protest austerity in large numbers because they had an opportunity to vote on the Government instead.

Richard Bruton said an early election is one of the reasons why Ireland has been able to implement difficult decisions over the last three years.

The Minister said having an election two months after the bailout was crucial in keeping public support.

"Part of the reason is that there was an election at the appropriate time and people did have an opportunity to express – in the ballot box – their frustration with what had happened," he said.

"So people had a chance to shape an alternative approach."

Cabinet ministers are today holding a series of press events to mark the official end of Ireland's three-year bailout.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, said some parts of the Troika demanded blanket welfare cuts early in Ireland's bailout.

She claims she had to work hard to convince the Troika about the benefits of maintaining welfare spending.

"My relationships ... had their ups and downs," she said. "When the Troika came into Ireland, they had a one-line approach to social welfare … cut."

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