Wednesday 24 January 2018

Loan deal 'does not go far enough'

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty described the overdraft being sought as a 'second bailout'
Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty described the overdraft being sought as a 'second bailout'

A deal to extend the maturity of Ireland's rescue loans does not go far enough to help economic recovery, opposition parties have warned.

Olli Rehn, vice president of the European Commission, said signals of an extension from eurozone finance ministers were a sign of growing confidence in Ireland.

But Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein said the Government should have negotiated an interest rate holiday.

Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the move to restructure the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) loan was a sideshow to the real issues.

"What they haven't done is secure an interest-free holiday for 10 years," Mr Doherty said.

"We won't be able to get out of this programme without a restructuring of the debt.

"We have seen part of that happen last night. But we haven't seen anything in relation to interest, which would be of benefit to Irish taxpayers in relation to budgetary matters."

Mr Doherty said an interest deferral would have a real, direct impact on people's lives. But the Government's failure to secure a deferral or a reduction in its rates would mean no money would be saved by the taxpayer, he added.

Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath said Ireland should seek a 10-year deferral of interest rates, just as Greece did in November.

While he welcomed the extended maturity on the EFSF loan, saying it would help Ireland's overall debt profile in the long run, he insisted more needed to be done by way of an interest holiday.

Press Association

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