TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has called yesterday's €3.5bn bond swap a "sign of confidence" as the Government plans to wean itself off bailout money and re-enter open markets by the end of next year.
The National Treasury Management Agency, which manages the country’s debt, swapped 30pc of a bond due in 2014 to the following year in its first market move since auctions were suspended at the end of 2010.
"Yesterday's swap is an indication of a sign of confidence," Mr Kenny said in an interview with Bloomberg television at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "But I recognise the scale of the challenge and just how far we have to go. We would expect to be out of the program by the end of 2013."
He added the swap or switch was a "tentative dip in the water."
"So we look forward to whenever they decide to do the same again," he said. "But we are in a programme and we continue to make progress and meet all the conditions set down by the troika and ourselves."
The EU/IMF/ECB troika has agreed to look at ways of reducing the country’s bank debt by focusing on €31bn of promissory notes or IOUs related to Anglo debt.
"The troika themselves now realize that perhaps greater flexibility could be shown to a country like Ireland which had to borrow very excessively before the facilities of the EFSF and the ESM actually came into being," Mr Kenny said