Rabbitte predicts deal within weeks on €30bn Anglo bailout
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has told a prominent US newspaper that a deal on Anglo Irish Bank's bailout will be struck "in the next few weeks" -- even though the Finance Minister Michael Noonan has repeatedly insisted that any deal won't be achieved "in the short term".
The comments from Mr Rabbitte were published in the 'Wall Street Journal' yesterday.
He said there were "reasons to be optimistic" that Ireland would not have to make the €3.1bn payment due next month under a €30bn IOU used to bail out bankrupt Anglo.
Officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund have been working on a "technical paper" that will outline the best option for restructuring the bailout. Their work is due to be completed at the end of this month.
Mr Rabbitte said it was impossible to know how the IOU would be reconstructed, but there would "certainly" be "an arrangement like a mortgage".
"I hope it will be restructured over 30 of 40 years," he said, outlining a timeline well beyond the IOU's current 20-year repayment schedule. Mr Rabbitte also said it would "obviously" be "very helpful" if a "couple of payments were skipped".
A spokesman for the Department of Finance last night declined to be drawn on Mr Rabbitte's detailed comments, but pointed to previous statements by Mr Noonan on the "medium-term" nature of the discussions.
The Irish Independent understands that even if the troika was to agree on a "common approach" on the restructuring, any change to the bailout would probably have to be approved by governments across the eurozone -- and possibly across the entire EU.
Depending on the way the restructuring is done, it may also need approval from the ECB's governing board. Informed sources say the chances of getting all of this done within weeks are remote.