Bond swap is the first step on a long, long road
Yesterday, 15 months after Ireland was ignominiously ejected from the international bond markets in October 2010, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) successfully persuaded holders of more than €3.5bn of Irish government bonds maturing in 2014 to swap them for bonds maturing in 2015.
While the NTMA's move was merely a technical operation of the kind national treasury agencies engage in almost every day, it still represented the first major issue of new bonds by this country since the November 2010 EU/IMF bailout.
With the Government scheduled to stage a full return to the bond markets in 2013 it was vital that yesterday's operation proceeded smoothly. It is to the credit of the NTMA that it did.