Thursday 23 November 2017

Hayes to raise issue of cutting cost of bailing out Anglo Irish at EU summit

Sarah Collins in Brussels

Ireland is an economy that is "turning" and has the "goodwill" of its EU partners because of its progress on implementing the bailout terms, Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes said yesterday.

Mr Hayes was in Brussels last night for a eurozone finance ministers' meeting, where he said he would raise the issue on a deal to reduce the cost of bailing out the former Anglo Irish Bank. However, he insisted that "no timelines" were being set.

The Government is seeking to renegotiate the €3.1bn a year it pays in promissory notes to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which was formed from the merger of Anglo and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

"The progress we have made has been a step-by-step approach since we have come into office in trying to renegotiate this deal," he said.


Mr Hayes said that there was a lot of "goodwill towards Ireland" because people realise the country has kept its part of the bargain -- "we are an economy that's turning", he said.

"We are also an economy that's worked hard with our EU partners to get out of this programme and we're confident we can achieve that."

Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who was unable to attend last night's talks because of a family illness, recently met with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to discuss the issue, but Mr Draghi indicated later that the bank would not countenance any debt restructuring beyond Greece.

Mr Hayes said that "significant progress" had already been made in getting the EU and IMF to agree to draw up a report on the promissory notes.

Meanwhile, he was upbeat on the potential for reaching a deal on a second Greek bailout, which dominated last night's meeting, saying that talks were at the "end game".

"Now I think is the time to really get this issue over the line and I'm confident that can happen," he added.

Irish Independent

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