Entries in Ireland (5)


Urban Outfitters Under Fire from Congressional Group

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Urban Outfitters is the object of congressional scorn for a line of Irish-themed clothing and accessories with "severe and negative stereotypes," according to a letter sent to the company from 10 members of Congress.

The legislators are part of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs and the letter is directed at Urban Outfitters CEO Tedford Marlow.

"We recently learned of images used by Urban Outfitters in its St. Patrick's Day clothing line that depict severe and negative stereotypes of Irish and Irish-American people as well as may promote binge drinking," the letter read. "We strongly urge you to end the sale of these items."

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A search of the word "Irish" on the clothing brand's website turns up 13 products—shirts, beer glasses, shot glasses, a flask and sunglasses shaped as shamrocks and beer glasses. One of the women's tank-tops says, "Irish I Were Drunk" with a shamrock and another t-shirt says, "Kiss Me I'm Drunk, Or Irish, Or Whatever." A hat that shows a stick figure on all fours vomiting says, "Irish Yoga."

"By selling and promoting these items, Urban Outfitters is only fueling stereotypes that many Irish-Americans, as well as the people in Ireland, work so hard to dispel," said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., in a statement.

Crowley spearheaded the letter and got his colleagues on board after hearing that many Irish-Americans were upset by the merchandise. The letter expresses concerns about the items potentially encouraging binge drinking, which they call a "very serious problem affecting many of our nation's young people."

"We strongly urge you to review your St. Patrick's Day clothing line and consider its effects on the 35 million-strong Irish-American community, as well as its implications for binge drinking," the letter said. "We also hope your review results in the withdrawal from distribution and sale of the items in question."

The letter was sent on Feb. 27 and Urban Outfitters has not yet responded to the Congress members.

Urban Outfitters did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fitch Places Six Eurozone Countries on Ratings Watch

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images(PARIS) -- On Friday, the credit ratings agency Fitch put six European countries on a downgrade watch list, causing further threat to the Eurozone which has been facing a debt crisis.

Despite affirming France's triple A rating, Fitch downgraded the country's outlook from stable to negative which could mean a ratings downgrade in two years.

Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland and Cyprus were placed under Rating Watch Negative with the probability of a downgrade at the end of a review in Jan. 2012.

Fitch said the region's crisis has been on a negative decline since July causing concern about the financial stability of member nations.

"In the absence of a 'comprehensive solution', the Eurozone crisis will persist and likely be punctuated by episodes of severe financial market volatility," said the agency in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ireland's Financial Collapse: Is the Worst Over?

PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- The public focus of President Obama's first presidential visit to Ireland is standard fare: he and the prime minister reaffirmed the U.S.-Irish relationship, and the president took in a visit to the small town of Monegall, where his maternal great-great-great grandfather was born.

But behind the delighted squeals of the crowd is an economic catastrophe that the president and the world will have to address.

In the wake of Ireland's financial collapse, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund gave Ireland a $121 billion loan in November. On Friday, the IMF warned that despite that bailout, Ireland's financial situation may worsen still.

"For policy matters that are under their control, the Irish authorities have been decisive and are doing all they can to get ahead of their problems," Ajai Chopra, IMF mission chief to Ireland, said last week. "But we do need to recognize that they may not be sufficient."

The IMF said that the EU needed a new "comprehensive plan" for Ireland and other struggling European countries.

Ireland's debt accounted for roughly a quarter of its economy. Then the nation was hit by severe housing and credit crises. The debt is now larger than its economy.

In their public remarks at Farmleigh House in Dublin this morning, Irish Prime Minister Kenny said he had explained to President Obama "the seriousness of which Ireland and its new government -- thereby myself and the presence here of the Oireachtas -- are dealing with the issues that affect our country -- the banks and the economic situation and our seriousness of intent in dealing with our budget deficit; also in conjunction with the conditions of the IMF bailout, dealing with the situation there.  And we expressed appreciation for the general support of America in that regard."

President Obama said he was "glad to see that progress is being made in stabilizing the economic situation here.  I know it's a hard road, but it's one that the Irish people are more than up to the task in achieving."

Amidst the severe austerity measures the government has had to impose -- reducing health benefits, cutting pensions, laying off workers -- Irish eyes are not smiling. Unemployment remains around 15 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eurozone Approves $113 Billion Bailout for Ireland

Photo Courtesy - PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- The European Union on Sunday approved an 85 billion euro or $113 billion dollar deal to help stave off an economic meltdown for Ireland.  The money will come from the International Monetary Fund, the 16 nations within the Eurozone and the European Commission. 

Ireland will be allowed to take money from its pension funds to make up its part of the EU commitment.  That had been against Eurozone rules. The EU has also agreed to set up a system by which a country deemed insolvent can restructure its debt. 

Ireland will have up to seven and a half years to pay back its loans -- longer than the three years allowed to Greece in its bailout deal arranged last May.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Ireland Seeks 100 Billion Euro Bailout

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street will be watching to see whether Ireland is successful in turning around its economy.  The nation has asked the European Union for as much as 100 billion euros -- the equivalent of nearly $137 billion in American money -- to bail it out of its fiscal emergency.

Ireland's economy is much smaller but its problems may be even more complicated than those of the U.S., at least in one area.  Because it is in the so-called "euro-zone," it has no currency of its own and cannot recapitalize its banks with new money as the U.S. did.

Economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland said Sunday that if Ireland gets a bailout, it could give the U.S. stock market a lift by removing uncertainty.  Morici says the issue of sovereign debt is a problematic one for markets all over the world.  Morici says Spain and Portugal are the next trouble spots to watch.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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