Monday 5 December 2016

€300m in bailout fees charged since 2010

Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman, Michael McGrath, said Europe and the IMF need to review its fee structure
Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman, Michael McGrath, said Europe and the IMF need to review its fee structure

The State was billed €20m in bailout fees by the ­European Union and International ­Monetary Fund (IMF) last year, even though it left the bailout at the end of 2013.

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By the end of 2014, fees of close to €300m had been charged since 2010. The ­charges are on top of interest payments on the bailout, which last year totalled €2.17bn and the ­previous year €1.9bn.

And further fee payments are due.

Fees were incurred when the State drew down a loan, or a tranche, under the three-year €67bn programme.

But the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said so-called servicing and commitment fees have also been levied, and are due even if no loan is drawn down. This means that while there will be no further drawdown fees, servicing fees will continue. A spokesman for the NTMA could not say what the figure for this year will be.

Fianna Fáil's finance ­spokesman, Michael McGrath, said Europe and the IMF need to review its fee structure.

"On the face of it, these are very substantial sums of money and puts paid to any notion that the bailout was in any sense an act of charity. The initial ­interest rate charged on the bailout loans was 5.8pc and these fees were in addition to that," Mr McGrath said.

"I think the Troika needs to review its fee structure for future bailouts involving other countries because countries only enter a bailout when they are facing extremely difficult circumstances and are essentially locked out from the international markets and can't borrow at reasonable rates of interest.

"The carrying cost of these fees is simply added to the other austerity measures that these programmes involve," he said.

Although there was a final drawdown from the European Financial Stability Mechanism in March last year of €800m, the €20m bill for 2014 relates solely to servicing and commitment fees. The NTMA said the EFSM drawdown did not incur a fee. The Department of Finance has said fees are a normal feature of sovereign borrowing, and are not unique to the bailout.

Irish Independent

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