ECB support 'extraordinary' – Draghi
EUROPEAN Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has described European support for Irish banks as "extraordinary".
In response to a letter from Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath, the head of the ECB said he was aware of the "resilience" of Irish people in the face of a "necessary but difficult adjustment process".
Mr Draghi said the bank remained in close contact with the Central Bank and would continue to discuss what "may be achievable" in easing the terms of the punishing Anglo Irish promissory note.
"Let me also take this opportunity to assure (people) that Ireland continues to enjoy the support of the Eurosystem (the eurozone's monetary authority)," he wrote.
"Over recent years, the support from the Eurosystem to Irish banks, in the form of monetary policy and emergency liquidity loans, has been extraordinary." He said Ireland continued to progress towards exiting the bailout programme.
Mr McGrath said the Government now needed to step up its negotiating efforts with the ECB.
"Unfortunately, the Government has begun to sound increasingly desperate in its efforts to secure a deal and doesn't seem to have a clear strategy for the eight remaining weeks to the end of March when the next payment falls due," Mr McGrath said.
The Fianna Fail TD said it made no logical sense for the Government to have to repay the next €3.1bn due under the promissory note.
Mr McGrath said there needed to be more face-to-face engagement between members of the Government and the ECB on the issue.