independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Noonan hails the role of German ECB official in securing Anglo debt deal

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has given credit to a senior European Central Bank official for playing a key role in the Anglo debt deal.

The long-awaited deal stretches the cost of bailing out the toxic bank for up to 40 years instead of 10, with the final repayment not due until 2053.

Mr Noonan said the negotiations had taken a step forward after he had a meeting in Cyprus with Jörg Asmussen, the German representative on the board of the European Central Bank.

“That was really what set the ball rolling. From then on we had a serious negotiation. The name the Irish people don’t know is Jörg Asmussen, he was extraordinarily helpful to us,” he told RTE’s Today with Pat Kenny show.

Mr Asmussen previously served as the deputy German Finance Minister alongside German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble – who put Mr Noonan in touch with him.

The Government was under huge pressure to get the deal agreed before the €3.1bn installment of the Anglo debt had to be paid at the end of next month.

But Mr Noonan revealed that he had been pressing European Central Bank President Mario Draghi for a deal well before this March 31 deadline. He said that the Government did not want the negotiations to drag on past St Patrick’s Day because it would interfere with the ability of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other ministers to travel abroad to promote Ireland. And he said that there was also a big risk to the deal if the negotiations were left until the end to be concluded.

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