Moody's Investors Service cited a struggling economy and an expensive rescue programme for Ireland's banks as it downgraded the country's debt rating. "Today's downgrade is primarily driven by the Irish government's gradual but significant loss of financial strength," said Dietmar Hornung, an analyst at Moody's. The government plans today to sell as much as €1.5 billion in bonds, marking a key test for the debt-ridden nation.

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