Ireland vulnerable to inflation, slowdown

Ireland's central bank on Tuesday issued its sternest warning yet about the inflation dangers facing Europe's fastest-growing economy and said the country was increasingly vulnerable to a sharp slowdown.

In unusually direct remarks, the bank criticised what it said was the government's inappropriately expansionary budget for 2001 and said it had been forced to raise its inflation forecasts in the wake of finance minister Charlie McCreevy's largesse.

The bank said the budget, which included two