Friday 20 October 2017

Department of Finance chief says no deadline for discussions with Troika on ‘backstop’ deal

John Moran indicates that talks can continue after December 15 date

John Moran
John Moran
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The head of the Department of Finance John Moran said there is no deadline for the discussions on a 'backstop' deal with the Troika to be concluded.

Talks on whether the Government will sign up to a so called precautionary credit line could continue after the December 15 date when the bailout is due to end, he indicated.

Those discussions hinge on whether the State will accept tough new conditions for the comfort of having up to €10bn of loans available, if needed, in an emergency, after the bailout.

The issues are 'finely balanced,' John Moran said.

But there is no particular deadline when a deal must be done on the issue, he said

The Government is taking soundings widely, including in the markets through John Corrigan and the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), as well as from Patrick Honohan, the Governor of the Central Bank, on the issue he said.

There are benefits to having a backstop but the State has advantages including a large cash  balance, and its status as a European country, he said.

Some countries exit bailout programmes with a financial backstop, but others do not, Mr Moran said.

The Secretary General of the Department of Finance was speaking ahead of discussions in Dublin between ministers and officials from the EU and IMF where technical issues around Ireland's exit from the bailout next month are expected to be dominate the agenda.

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