At first blush, mortgage delinquencies in Ireland appear higher than almost anywhere in Europe. But the data can be deceptive if it includes the Irish "specialist" market, since the rest of Europe is limited mainly to prime lending.

"You would be comparing apples to pears," said Oscar Heemskerk, senior analyst of RMBS ratings at Moody's Investors Service. "Excluding the specialist transactions, the delinquency trend for Ireland is more in line with the other countries."

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