Monday 19 March 2018

Economic Forum: Taoiseach says Ireland will be first country to wave goodbye to the IMF

Enda Kenny addresses delegates at the Global Economic Forum in Dublin Castle. Photo: PA
Eamon Gilmore speaking at the Global Economic Forumin Dubln Castle. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and Chairman of KPMG International Peter Sutherland during the opening plenary of the second Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle. Photo: PA
U2 manager Paul McGuinness arrives for the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle. Photo: PA
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn at Dublin Castle for the Global Irish Economic Forum. Photo: PA
Joan Burton arriving at Dublin Castle. Photo: PA
Riverdance creator John McColgan during the launch of his social networking site at the second Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle. Photo: PA
Gabriel Byrne and Dara O'Briain during the launch of the social networking site. Photo: PA reporters

IRELAND aims to be the first country to exit the EU/IMF/ECB rescue programme ahead of countries like Portugal and Greece, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today.

He also confirmed the Government plans to enter the open markets to borrow as early as next year.

“Of all the countries in difficulty, Ireland leads by example,” Mr Kenny told Bloomberg Television in an interview at the Global Economic Forum.

He added that Ireland is best positioned to be the first to “wave goodbye to the IMF.”

Currently we are surviving on the €85bn in loans, mainly from the EU/IMF/ECB, as we are priced out of the bond markets.

But 10-year borrowing costs are dropping and stand just over 7.5pc compared with over 14pc as recently as July.

As part of austerity measures, the Government is planning to save up to €4bn in savings next year in a bid to cut the deficit and Mr Kenny also said we are on target to beat the 2011 target of 10.6pc of output or Gross Domestic Product.

Representatives of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) told a Dail committee that the Government has already been in talks with rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s to explain why we deserve to have our ratings increased which should help lower the cost of borrowing further.

Earlier Mr Kenny promised to make Ireland the best small country in the world to do business by 2016 as 270 delegates descended on Dublin Castle for the Global Economic Forum.

Opening the forum, Mr Kenny invoked the strength being shown by the Irish rugby team in New Zealand as a signal that Ireland is back in business.

He also said Ireland’s name in the international community will be restored while he also promised to keep job creation at the top of the Government’s to-do list.

Mr Kenny predicted a flare will be sent up in the southern hemisphere tomorrow morning when we "shove our Welsh colleagues around that pitch" and show that Ireland is back.

"We face unprecedented challenges.

“But, we Irish have been and are resilient, remarkably so.

“Always capable... ready to reinvent even our own ideas of who we are," he said.

"The mandate of this new Government – a partnership between the Fine Gael and Labour parties – is the strongest in the history of our State.

“It is a mandate to face up to and tackle the country’s problems and to get Ireland working again.

“A mandate to deal with reality and not illusion," Mr Kenny added.

Delegates include influential people in business and the arts who are either Irish born or claim Irish ancestry.

They include former US President Bill Clinton, U2 manager Paul McGuinness and businessmen Denis O’Brien, Peter Sutherland and Dermot Desmond.

Others are Irial Finan of the Coca-Cola Company and PJ Hough, corporate vice president of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, the successful implementation of tough austerity measures place Ireland in the influential Lex Column in the Financial Times today.

Although warning that mortgage arrears could prove a flash point in the future and a global slowdown will make our recovery more challenging, the economy is growing.

Exports, for example, are at about 100pc of output compared with 20pc in Greece.

“Ireland has to capacity to grow out of its debt burden, which will touch 115pc of Gross Domestic Product in 2013,” it states.

But Mr Sutherland of Goldman Sachs gave a sobering reminder of our economic circumstances highlighting that we are spending more on a day-to-day basis than we can afford.

He was referring to the fact that the difference between what we are taking in taxes and what we’re spending on public services is about €18bn.

Mr Kenny says the primary deficit will not go away with "fair and proportionate" political decisions.

Mr Sutherland also reminded delegates that the recent report on the state of universities showed than many have fallen down the league table.

"We have deluded ourselves a little bit about the standard of our third-level education,” he said.

“Rather than spreading everything equally, those that deliver need to be rewarded for it."

Meanwhile, a new social networking site aimed at linking Irish people all over the world has been launched at the forum. is understood to be the first of its kind and is the brainchild of John McColgan who brought Riverdance to the stage.

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