Tuesday 21 November 2017

€250m is Taoiseach's 'ballpark' figure for Greek rescue

Patricia McDonagh

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen yesterday confirmed Ireland's bill to bail out Greece would be in the "ballpark" of a quarter of a billion euro.

Mr Cowen admitted Ireland had not yet been asked to pledge funds to the debt-ridden country, as part of an EU financial bailout.

But he insisted it would assist Greece when required -- even in light of its own budgetary difficulties.

Speaking in the Dail, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore pointed out that there was speculation that Ireland's contribution to the EU rescue plan for Greece would be €250m.

Greece is grappling with a €300bn debt mountain and a budget deficit of 12.7pc -- more than four times the EU's allowable 3pc limit.

One option on the cards is that the EU will loan €15bn to Greece, with another €10bn coming from the International Monetary Fund.

"Deputy Gilmore raised the point that there is a capital key in the order of 1.2pc, and if the figure mentioned by Deputy Gilmore was the total amount to be raised, it would be in that ballpark," Mr Cowen replied.

He also attempt to allay fears about the impact of such a loan on the black hole in Government coffers.

"We will not have a situation where the lending state will pay more," he said.

"If we are borrowing money at Xpc, the state to which we lend money will have to cover the Xpc as well.

"Costs are covered. The state provides the money but ensures the interest costs are recouped in the repayment arrangements by the state one is assisting."

But Mr Cowen cautioned that such a rescue plan should not occur again.

The difficulties that arose in Greece were because the real public finance position was different from what had been submitted to the European Commission, he said.

Irish Independent

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