EU backing Ireland but NTMA queries bond market return date
Published 10/09/2011 | 05:00
IRELAND has been given a ringing endorsement by the EU for sticking to the terms of its bailout deal, with the budget deficit forecast to come in under target this year.
However, National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief John Corrigan has declined to say when Ireland may be able to re-enter the bond market. He hoped Ireland could do a syndicated bond issue, but he refused to name a date.
He said events in Greece could "throw us all off course''.
"Ultimately the timing of these decisions will depend on many different circumstances -- national and international,'' he told the Oireachtas committee on Finance and Public Expenditure.
Mr Corrigan also defended the salaries and bonuses paid to NTMA staff in recent years, saying they had to be similar to those in the private sector or staff would move to "greener pastures''.
In a progress report published yesterday, the European Commission says the Government is "to be commended" for its resolve in implementing the cuts, tax rises and reforms agreed last November in exchange for a €67.5bn rescue loan.
"Despite strong headwinds at home. . . programme objectives are being advanced," said the report, written after the troika -- Brussels, the ECB and the IMF -- visited Dublin in July.
Mr Corrigan said international investors were warming to Ireland, but wanted Ireland to generate a budget surplus as soon as possible.