Saturday 10 December 2016

Voters want bailout renegotiated

But less than 50pc hold out any hope of success

Shane Doran and Sarah Collins

Published 17/02/2011 | 05:00

FOUR in five voters want the next government to renegotiate the IMF/EU bailout -- but less than half think it will be able to successfully do this, an Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll reveals.

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And just a quarter of people believe the incoming administration will be able to push through the current bailout agreement.

An overwhelming 83pc of those surveyed are in favour of a renegotiation of the bailout. Just 11pc said the government should leave the bailout -- with its average 5.8pc interest rate -- as it currently stands.

But it appears the electorate does not have much confidence in the ability of the next government to deliver improved terms for Ireland, with just 38pc saying such an outcome was likely.

Some 28pc said the likelihood of success was "quite unlikely", with a further 23pc saying it was "very unlikely".

But there is even less optimism of the next government being able to implement the terms of the existing bailout agreement.

Just 27pc -- consisting chiefly of Fine Gael supporters, the elderly and members of the farming community -- think it will be able to see the deal through to the end.

This compares to 47pc of those polled -- largely Labour supporters and low-earning males -- who who say it will not.

The poll findings come as EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn reiterated that certain measures contained in the bailout agreement could be renegotiated

But he did not indicate there could be any movement on the final amount to be repaid, or the timeframe for doing so.

In a letter to Labour MEP Nessa Childers, Mr Rehn said a "reprioritisation" of the measures contained in the EU/IMF deal is possible after 2011.

Discussion

He said there may be "some room for discussion" on cost-cutting and tax-raising plans beyond 2011 as the budgets for those years have yet to be drawn up.

Ireland has committed to shaving €9bn off the budget gap between 2012 and 2014, on top of €6bn to be repaid this year.

However, Brussels has given the Government an extra year -- until 2015 -- to bring the deficit back within EU limits.

Labour has made a renegotiation of the deal a cornerstone of its election manifesto. It says it will reduce the cuts plan to €7.1bn, and extend the deficit reduction deadline by a year to 2016.

But while EU officials say the means to achieve the amount owed are negotiable, they insist the €9bn target is set in stone.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has also said he wants a reduction on the 5.8pc average interest rate Ireland is paying on its EU loans and says bank bondholders should share in the cost of the financial collapse.

Irish Independent

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