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Saturday 23 September 2017

Minister rejects claim Madrid got better deal than us

Fionnan Sheahan and Peter Flanagan

The Government was forced last night to insist that Spain didn't get a better deal than Ireland in the wake of a €100bn rescue of the Spanish banking system.

The European debt crisis has claimed a fourth victim after Spain formally requested the bailout.

But the deal does not appear to be of benefit to Ireland as the Government bids to secure a new deal on bank debt.

The funds will be borrowed by the Spanish government and put into the banking system with the debt remaining on the state books.

The Coalition was hoping a new method of recapitalising the banks would be developed for Spain, which could then be applied to Ireland.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan insisted the Spanish announcement would provide "confidence and stability in the eurozone".

"And this will be particularly important for Ireland's economy as the eurozone crisis has weighed on our economic growth over the past year," he said.

Stability

Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said the deal would help Ireland regain stability.

Mr Hayes said the Government would continue to pursue a restructuring of the bank debt, particularly the €30bn debt attached to the former Anglo Irish Bank.

He said the Coalition would seek a longer term of repayment at more competitive rates on the bank debt.

But the minister denied claims that the €100bn Spanish bank bailout was a better deal than the one Ireland got.

"There will be a memorandum of understanding, there will be conditionality in terms of the financial sector; the troika will be involved, the IMF will be involved," he said on RTE Radio 1.

Mr Hayes said that to present it as a better deal for Spain was "just not right".

"They have already come into an agreement with the EU Commission under the excessive deficit rule that they have got their deficit down to under 3pc by 2014," he said.

But Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the loans were to be provided "at a lower cost, with no additional austerity or loss of sovereignty".

He said the Government had to explain "why it was not able to secure these kinds of terms when the Spanish government could".

Irish Independent

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