Irish Prime Minister launches plan for economic recovery

Irish Prime Minister launches plan for economic recoveryDublin  - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen launched a programme for the recovery of Ireland's economy on Thursday, with a 500-million-euro (730 million dollars) venture capital fund to boost enterprise, during a press conference at Dublin Castle.

The plan, called Building Ireland's Smart Economy, is to re- orientate the national economy toward what Cowen called the knowledge economy, as well as wind and wave energy.

Speaking ahead of the news conference, Cowen said that his government would "lead the country through this once-in-a-century downturn ... and restructure the economy so that we are in pole position when the global recovery occurs."

The government's plan comes amidst a dramatically worsening economic outlook for Ireland.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), a leading think tank, is expected to report a large projected fall in the country's GNP for 2009, in their quarterly economic commentary to be released Friday.

Ireland's economy will have shrunk by an anticipated 2.6 per cent in 2008, according to ESRI. (dpa)